Pumpkin Pie (With Butternut Squash)

Pumpkin Pie with Butternut Squash

I wasn’t feeling terribly inspired about baking a pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving until I chanced upon a recipe in the New York Times that showed how to make one from scratch– without a pumpkin.

I have nothing against pumpkins, mind you.I love them in all their rotund glory and they are delicious sweet or savory. But I also don’t love cooking the same dishes over and over and over, and with pumpkin pie I had been there, baked that. Still, the New York Times recipe was seductive because, for one, it was made absolutely from scratch– no canned purees here. But more interestingly, it was made with butternut squash. The creator of the recipe said she had tried every kind of squash out there for the filling before coming up with the winner.
So Sunday morning I ran down to my neighborhood supermarket and bought a couple of butternut squashes. If you aren’t up-to-date on your squash vocabulary, these are the pretty, bell-shaped gourds with a beige skin. They’re tough on the outside, but cut one open with a knife (a sharp one), and you will be surprised by startlingly orange flesh that cooks up into satiny sweetness. Perfect for pie
Pumpkin Pie with Butternut Squash
Pumpkin Pie with Butternut Squash

I didn’t follow the New York Times recipe, partly because it was not vegan and also because I have my own pumpkin pie recipe that works beautifully for me each time. But I did follow the writer’s instructions on making the butternut puree, which were very good. In fact, I am now a total convert– no more canned pumpkin purees for me.

I know you are busy to get on with your Thanksgiving cooking, so I’ll leave you now with the recipe. Hope everyone’s looking forward to the holidays!

Pumpkin Pie with Butternut Squash

Roasted Butternut Squash

Pumpkin Pie (With Butternut Squash)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Pumpkin Pie (With Butternut Squash)
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8
  • For the crust:
  • 1¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp vegan butter, like Earth Balance, very cold
  • 4 tbsp vegetable shortening, very cold
  • 2 tbsp vegan cream cheese (optional; it makes the crust crispier, but leave out if you'd rather)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Ice-cold water to mix
  • For the filling:
  • 1 3½ to 4 pound butternut squash. Peel the squash, remove the seeds, and dice into 1-inch cubes. Winter squashes have a hard skin, so be sure you use a sharp knife or a good peeler.
  • 1 tsp oil to roast the squash
  • 1 cup extra-firm tofu blended into a smooth paste with ½ cup soymilk
  • ¾ cup sugar + 2 tbsp molasses (can use brown sugar instead of the sugar-molasses combination)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon powder
  • ½ tsp cloves, powdered
  • ½ tsp grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
  1. To make the crust, place the flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Cut the butter and shortening into small cubes and add to the flour. Using a pastry cutter or two forks, cut in the fat into the flour until you have smallish pieces of fat dispersed through the flour, no larger than the size of peas.
  2. Drizzle in the icy water, a little at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball.
  3. Clump the dough together and place it in plastic cling wrap, shaping into a disc as you wrap it.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Using some flour, roll the pie crust into a round large enough to fit into your pie plate with a slight overhang. Place in the pie plate and tuck in the excess under the rim.
  6. Crimp or flute the corners to make a decorative edge. You can also just press around the edges with the tines of a fork to get a nice-looking crust.
  7. You will need to blind-bake the crust-- meaning you need to par-bake it before adding the filling. To do this, smooth a piece of aluminum foil (shiny side up) over the crust, making sure you cover the crust entirely. Now fill the pie crust all the way to the top with dry rice or beans (these are used as pie weights-- they prevent the pie crust from shrinking which it would do if you didn't add the pie weights. Keep the dry rice or beans that you use for all your future blind-baking needs-- don't throw it away).
  8. Place the pie crust in a 400-degree (Fahrenheit) oven for 20 minutes. Then remove from the oven, carefully pour out the rice or beans, and remove the aluminum foil. Poke some holes into the bottom of the crust with a fork, and put it back in the oven for another five minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and set aside.
  9. To make the filling, roast the butternut squash cubes, mixed with 1 tsp oil, in a 400-degree (Fahrenheit) oven for 40 minutes or until the pieces are tender enough that a fork runs through the center easily.
  10. Let the roasted squash cool to room temperature, then place in a food processor and process into a very smooth, silken puree.
  11. Measure two cups of the butternut puree into a bowl. If you have any extra leftover, refrigerate or freeze to use in other Thanksgiving recipes.
  12. Add the tofu-soymilk blend, spices, sugar, molasses, and salt to the squash puree. Mix well with a ladle or spatula.
  13. Pour into the warm crust all the way to the top.
  14. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 45 minutes or until the filling is set and only slightly jiggly in the center.
  15. Cool thoroughly before serving.
  16. The butternut bakes into a shade several times darker than what you'd get with a pumpkin pie-- it's really pretty.
  17. Enjoy!
(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

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  1. says

    My Grandma always made her pies with butternut squash and so I have always preferred the lighter texture and flavor over pumpkin in pies. This pie looks divine! Happy Thanksgiving to you! I am thankful for you and all of the vegan recipe bloggers out there who help make my vegan lifestyle DELICIOUS!

  2. Kerri says

    Hi, Vaishali! I haven’t checked my Google Reader in ages and came on to find three scrumptious dishes from you, starting with this one.

    I have a couple of questions: I have made Alton Brown’s delicious “Moo-less Chocolate Pie” several times, and he uses silken tofu. I noticed that on this and the mango pie you use extra-firm tofu blended with soy milk. Are you avoiding the silken tofu for a reason, or have you just always used the extra firm? I’m simply curious: I’ve cooked with tofu a lot, but the Alton Brown recipe was the first time I “baked” with it. (His is an uncooked pie. Maybe that’s the difference?)

    My second question is if you have a favorite brand of vegan cream cheese. I am only dairy free in the last couple of years. I’ve always used the Toffuti brand, which I like fine, but recently tried the Trader Joe’s brand and another brand (blanking on the name). Toffuti I find to be tangier, but the other two brands had a much lighter texture.

    Thanks for all of the great recipes. I love reading your ideas!

    • says

      Hi Kerri, welcome back! Those are very good questions. I started using the extra firm tofu in pies because I realized that it sets far more easily than the silken one– in fact, it doesn’t even require any egg replacers or other thickeners. Blending the tofu with some nondairy milk gives a very smooth texture to the tofu, and it’s perfect in desserts.
      The brand of non-dairy cream cheese I use is Tofutti. I tried some other brand, I can’t remember the name right now, but I didn’t like it, and I switched back. I like the texture of Tofutti in desserts because it is exactly like cream cheese. I haven’t tried the Trader Joe brand– I didn’t know they have vegan cream cheese, so thanks for the information, and I will look for it the next time I am at Trader Joe.

  3. Lauren says

    I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong. My filling came out more like a paste and not something that you pour. Did you put the liquid from the tofu into the recipe as well? That is the only thing I didn’t do–otherwise I followed it exactly. The taste is good but the consistency is not right. I had the same problem with the butternut squash muffins that are linked to this recipe. I had to add at least a 1/2 cup of milk so they were of muffin consistency.

      • Lauren says

        I am making this filling a second time and I just have to tell you just how AWESOME the flavor is. And I have only just licked the spoon! It is baking right now. I think you are a culinary genius! I have only scanned your recipe list and see there are just so many recipes I’m excited to try! I have just recently become vegan and vegan cooking is another world to me right now.

        • says

          So glad you like the filling, Lauren! And thanks for your kind words. :) Veganism is a wonderful and rewarding journey– congrats on getting here! Always feel free to ask if you have questions about my recipes.

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