Bake this nontraditional pumpkin pie the same day you plan to eat it, but feel free to make the pumpkin-apple filling the day before and refrigerate it. The crust turns out best if the filling and puff pastry dough are almost frozen when the pie goes in the oven. Serve with unsweetened whipped cream or creme fraiche.
- 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
- 3 pounds sugar pumpkin (or cheese pumpkin or kabocha squash), seeded, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch dice
- 3/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
- Two 9- to 10-inch square sheets frozen puff pastry
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the pumpkin or squash and apples and cook for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat to low, add the light brown sugar and the vanilla bean, scraping to incorporate any browned bits of fruit from the bottom of the skillet. Cover and cook for about 30 minutes, or until the fruit is very soft but still holding its shape. Set aside to cool, discarding the vanilla bean. When the mixture has completely cooled, add the chopped pecans. Cover and refrigerate or freeze to firm up a bit before using.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Have ready a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Roll out each sheet of puff pastry, one at a time, on a lightly floured work surface or on a large sheet of parchment paper, to a square of an even thickness. Using a round 11-inch pan or plate as a guide, cut out a circle of pastry dough from each puff pastry sheet. Discard the scraps or reserve for another use. Freeze for 10 minutes before using.
To assemble: Place 1 of the pastry circles on the lined baking sheet. Spread with the well-chilled pumpkin mixture, leaving a 1-inch margin around the edges. Brush the outside edge of the bottom pastry with the beaten egg. Lay the remaining pastry circle over the filling, tucking the pastry slightly around the edges. Then fold the edges of the bottom pastry up over the top pastry circle, pressing firmly for an even seal. Brush the top pastry with more of the beaten egg. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cool slightly before serving.
Adapted from the November 2000 issue of Saveur magazine.
Tested by Geneva Collins.
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