Kabocha Pie

Kabocha Pie

The inspiration for this dessert is kabocha squash, a sweet winter squash used in Japanese cooking. The kabocha packs fantastic flavor, with dense texture and vibrant color that resembles a cross between pumpkin and sweet potatoes. Caramel pairs beautifully with kabocha, and in this case, that flavor comes from traditional Mexican cajeta – homemade dulce de leche made with goat milk and cinnamon. Cajeta makes this pie extra creamy, with a delightful dark tinge of caramel around the edges.

Kabocha Pie with Dulce de Leche

Serves | 10 |

Cajeta

  • 2 liters goat milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp water

Pie Crust

  • 10 Tbsp cold butter, in pieces
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 to 7 Tbsp cold water

Filling

  • 2 to 3 kabocha squash
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 to 5 Tbsp cold water
  • 1½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp toasted, freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • cajeta (recipe above)
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 4 eggs, beaten

| Preparation – Cajeta | In a Dutch oven or large saucepot, heat goat milk, sugar and cinnamon. Remove from heat.

Combine baking soda and water to dissolve, add baking soda mixture to goat milk mixture; milk will foam. Return to heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until a deep golden color forms and milk has reached the consistency of thick syrup, about 3 hours.

| Preparation – Pie Crust | Preheat oven to 375°F. In a food processor, pulse butter and flour to combine. Slowly add cold water through the chute. You should be able to form a large patty-shape with it. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out crust to fit a 14-inch pan. Press into pan, trimming edges. Chill for another 30 minutes. Prick several times with a fork, line with aluminum foil or parchment paper, and weigh down with pie weights.

Set crust in oven and bake 15 minutes. Once crust is removed from oven, remove weights and foil or paper, and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

| Preparation – Filling | Preheat oven to 375°F.

Slice squash in half and remove seeds. Cut into thick slices and drizzle with oil. Roast at 375°F for 45 minutes, until easily pierced with a fork. Remove flesh from skin with a paring knife and purée in a food processor, adding cold water 1 Tbsp at a time to form a mixture that is thinner than mashed potatoes, but still holds some shape. Press through a chinois or sieve.

Combine purée, spices and salt. Mix in cajeta and heavy cream. Add eggs. Whisk thoroughly to combine.

Pour filling mixture into pie crust. Bake at 375°F for about 45 minutes, or until pie has puffed up 1½-inch around edges, barely jiggles when shaken and the crust is golden brown. Allow to cool and set completely before removing from pan.

| To Serve | Serve at room temperature with reserved cajeta and chilled whipped cream, laced, if desired, with cinnamon, vanilla and powdered sugar.