Kabocha pie has rich flavor, color
Canned pumpkin puree is easy and convenient, but if you prefer fresh, from-scratch cooking, we in the Islands have a ready alternative in kabocha, or "Japanese pumpkin."
This smallish squash yields a silken-textured puree in a bright marigold color that can be used wherever conventional pumpkin puree is called for.
The following kabocha pie is from a Big Island friend of recipe tester Marylene Chun; its rich flavor will impress the Thanksgiving guests. Make the crust now and freeze it, then bake the pie the night before Thanksgiving. You can also use calabaza, Mexican pumpkin.
MRS. FUMIE NAKAMICHI'S FRESH PUMPKIN PIE AND FLAKY CRUST
For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Crisco shortening
1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water
Flour for dusting rolling surface
Sift flour, salt and baking powder together. Cut in shortening using a pastry cutter or two forks until lumps of shortening are the size of small peas and well-mixed with flour. Drizzle in 1/4 cup ice water, stirring to blend as you drizzle. The mixture should clump together in a loose ball; if it's too dry, drizzle in a little more ice water. Do not overmix and use only as much ice water as needed. Form into a disc and wrap dough in plastic wrap or foil and chill thoroughly; all day or overnight is best. Sprinkle work surface and top of dough with flour, and roll out.
Place dough in ungreased Pyrex pie plate. Crimp edges. Do not prick the crust. Refrigerate while you make the filling or freeze, well-wrapped, for later use.
For the filling:
2 cups cooked, sieved kabocha
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup milk
Separate eggs; strain egg whites into medium-size bowl to remove any white "strings," then add yolks. Add remaining ingredients and stir to blend. Filling should resemble thick cake batter; if it's too thick, add a little more milk.
Pour the filling into the uncooked pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes to an hour. Filling will puff up a bit. Pie is done when a knife inserted into the filling comes out clean.
Makes 8 servings.
Per serving: 430 calories, 22 g total fat, 6 g saturated fat, 85 mg cholesterol, 380 mg sodium, 53 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 24 g sugar, 7 g protein