Ingredients

Pie:
1 9 or 10-inch deep-dish pastry shell
1 3/4 cups cooked and pureed winter squash, such as Butternut, Acorn or Australian Blue
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon grated fresh gingerroot
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup half-and-half or light cream
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Topping:
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon brandy
1 to 2 tablespoons light brown sugar or to taste
Whole shelled walnuts or pecans for garnish, optional

Directions

1. Prepare Pie: Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line pastry shell with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake pastry shell for 5 minutes or until firm but not colored, remove foil and weights, cool.
2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine squash puree, brown sugar, vanilla, gingerroot, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Whisk in eggs and half-and-half or light cream, whisking until mixture is smooth.
3. Place pastry shell on oven rack; sprinkle nuts in bottom of shell. Pour filling over; gently slide into oven. Bake 10 minutes; reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake 35 to 45 minutes more or until a knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean. (Center will cook as pie cools.)
4. Prepare Topping: Using an electric mixer, beat whipping cream on high speed until soft peaks form. Fold in vanilla or brandy, add brown sugar to taste. Spoon some cream onto each serving; garnish with a whole pecan or walnut, if desired.

Recipe Courtesy of Freida's, The Specialty Produce People.

Serve as a finale to a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. The pie can be made earlier in the day, but make the topping at the last minute.

Southern Squash Pie
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