I purposely did not call this a “pumpkin” pie, because I think this dessert works best with the sweeter winter squashes, red kuri, sweet dumpling, delicate, and such. If you decide to go with a pie pumpkin, you may need more dates to sweeten–or not. If I know I’m serving a dessert with ice cream, I will cut back on the sweetener in the dessert. Anyway, this is a good variation on pumpkin pie.

If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice on hand, try this combo: 1 1/4 t ground cinnamon + 3/4 t ground nutmeg + 3/4 t ground ginger + 1/4 t ground cloves

You can, of course, use your favorite crust. The crust recipe I’m including is my favorite–it’s easy to work with and can be used for both sweet and savory pies.

Pie Filling:
6 – 8, or more, large, pitted dates
2 c winter squash purée
1/2 c sour cream or 4 oz cream cheese, softened
2 eggs
1 1/2 t vanilla
1 T pumpkin pie spice, or homemade concoction
pinch salt

1. Put dates in a medium-sized bowl. Bring enough water to cover dates to the boil. Pour over dates and let sit for an hour. (Make crust in interim.)

2. Drain dates. Put into a food processor and buzz a few times. Add purée and buzz a few more times. Add sour cream or cream cheese, and buzz again. Add eggs and buzz.  Add vanilla and spices and buzz to mix in. By now the dates should be well incorporated into the purée, with no recognizable date pieces. If not, continue to process until very smooth. Reserve.

3. Preheat oven to 375°F. Transfer filling to crusted pie pan (or not, this is good crustless, too). Bake for 45 minutes (30 if crustless). Let cool for at least 10 – 15 minutes before serving, or let cool completely.

Crust:
1 1/2 c flour, white whole wheat, white all purpose, or a combination
pinch of salt
6 T cold unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 c cold heavy cream, plus extra if using whole grain flour

1. In a food processor or by hand, buzz flour and salt. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add cream and pulse until dough almost comes together. Remove from processor and gently knead until it holds together. Shape into a oval disc, wrap, and refrigerate for about 30 minutes, or overnight.

3. Roll crust out and transfer to pie pan. Press in and crimp edges, trimming any excess. Fill with filling.