Saturday, November 19, 2011

Cushaw is our traditional pie for Thanksgiving dinner

Instead of pumpkin pie, my mom has always baked cushaw pie for Thanksgiving.  In recent years, with an expanding family, someone will occasionally contribute a pumpkin pie to our dinner, or, better yet, one of my sisters-in-law will bring her family’s favorite, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.

Even so, we still have cushaw pie, partly because my dad wouldn’t have it any other way.

Cushaw is a large green and white striped winter squash, often used for decorating around the fodder shock in autumn. This squash was once a staple of the Native American diet.

The most challenging part of making a cushaw pie is cutting up the squash. 

Some cut off the thick neck, then peel and dice the pale yellow flesh before cooking.

Another method for cooking cushaw is to bring a large pot of water to a boil, submerge large sections of the squash, cook until the flesh may be easily pierced with a fork, then peel, drain and mash. 

The pie itself is very simple, especially if you buy readymade crusts like I do.  My mom, of course, makes homemade crusts.

This recipe has long been a Thanksgiving family favorite.  Try it; it may soon become one of yours! 

Cushaw Pie

1 c. cooked cushaw, mashed
3/4 c. sugar
1 c. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ginger
Dash of cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs, beaten

Mix all ingredients in large bowl; pour into unbaked pastry shell, dot with 3 teaspoons butter. Bake in 350 degree oven for 20-30 minutes. Pie is done when no filling clings to point of table knife.

This makes one pie; you may double or triple to feed whatever size crowd you are serving. 

 "Gasp!"  There's a piece missing!  I wonder whodunnit?! :)

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