Brown-Sugar Butternut-Squash Pie
To make this recipe in less time, you can substitute organic canned butternut-squash puree for the fresh squash. For the decorating technique, see our step-by-step photos.
• 1 medium butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
• Unbleached all-purpose flour, for dusting
• Test Kitchen's Favorite Pate Brisee, divided into one round and one square disk
• 4 large eggs, room temperature
• 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
• 1 tablespoon cornstarch
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
• Confectioners' sugar and lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Place, cut-side down, on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and roast until soft, 45 to 50 minutes.
2. When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out flesh and transfer to a food processor; process until smooth. Transfer to a cheesecloth-lined colander set over a bowl. Squeeze out excess moisture and let stand, covered with plastic, at least 2 hours or, refrigerated, up to 3 days. Return to room temperature before using.
3. On a lightly floured piece of parchment, roll out round disk of dough 1/8 inch thick. Transfer to a 9-inch pie dish. Trim dough flush with rim, prick inside all over with a fork, and refrigerate.
4. Roll square disk of dough into an 11-by-14-inch rectangle (between 1/8 and 1/16 inch thick). Freeze until firm but pliable, about 10 minutes. Use a knife or pastry wheel and a ruler to cut fifteen 1/4-inch-wide strips of dough along the short side. (Use an assortment of cookie cutters to cut out decorative shapes for pie top from remaining dough.)
5. Working with 5 strips at a time, gently press tops together to adhere. Place 3 strips to one side and 2 to the other. Make a fish-tail braid by bringing outer-third strip over to the center of side with 2 strips. Repeat, with outer-third strip always moving to middle to join side with 2 strips. Repeat fishtail-braiding with remaining strips of dough, so you have 3 braids of 5 strips each.
6. Beat 1 egg with 1 teaspoon water; brush piecrust rim with egg wash. Place braids over rim, cutting them as needed to fit circumference of pie, and press gently to adhere. Freeze piecrust and decorative cut-outs until firm, about 20 minutes. Brush edge with egg wash.
7. Preheat oven to 400 degrees with racks in lower and upper thirds. Line crust with parchment, keeping it away from decorative rim. Fill with dried beans or pie weights.
8. Bake piecrust on lower rack until edges begin to turn golden and bottom is dry, 22 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove parchment and beans. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and return crust to oven. Place chilled cut-outs on a separate parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with egg wash; place on upper rack. Bake until both piecrust and cutouts are golden brown and dry, 10 to 15 minutes more (smaller cutouts will bake more quickly). Let cool slightly on a wire rack.
9. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Whisk together 1 cup squash puree and remaining 3 eggs. In a separate bowl, whisk together brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, and spices. Whisk dry ingredients into squash mixture, then stir in vanilla and evaporated milk to combine. Pour filling into piecrust; tent rim with foil and bake until center is just set, 50 to 65 minutes. Let cool completely on rack.
10. Dust cutouts with confectioners' sugar and use to decorate top. When ready to slice pie, remove cutouts. Serve, with a few cutouts and a dollop of whipped cream on top of each slice.
Cinnamon-Swirl Apple Slab Pie
Extra cinnamon-swirl dough slices like cookie dough -- and becomes crisp and caramelized in the oven, much like palmiers. Bake it on a parchment-lined baking sheet until very golden, about 12 minutes. You'll be thankful you did at your morning coffee break. For the decorating technique, see our step-by-step photos.
• 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
• 2 recipes Test Kitchen's Favorite Pate Brisee, each shaped into a rectangular disk
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, plus 2 tablespoons, refrigerated and cut into small cubes
• 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 4 pounds assorted apples, such as Jonagold, Cortland, Granny Smith, and Empire, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
• 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
• 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
• 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling
1. On a lightly floured piece of parchment, roll one disk of dough into a 12-by-17-inch rectangle. Transfer crust to a 10 1/2-by-15 1/4-inch rimmed baking sheet or jelly-roll pan and press into bot- tom edges and up sides. Fold overhang under and around edge. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
2. In a small bowl, combine room-temperature butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. On a lightly floured piece of parchment, roll second disk of dough into a 12-by-16-inch rectangle. Evenly spread butter mixture over dough all the way to ends, then, starting at a long edge, tightly roll into a log. Transfer to a baking sheet and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 425 degrees with a rack in lower third and a foil-lined baking sheet on a rack below. In a large bowl, toss together apples, lemon juice, granulated sugar, flour, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and vanilla. Fill piecrust with apple mixture and dot with cold butter.
4. Cut dough log into 1/4-inch slices, rotating with each slice to keep slices round. (You'll need 63 slices total.) Arrange slices over apple mixture, slightly overlapping, in nine rows of seven. Refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes.
5. Brush top of pie with egg wash and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until top crust is just set, 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 375 degrees and continue baking until crust is golden brown and juices are bubbling, about 1 hour. Let cool completely on a wire rack. Slab pie tastes best the day it's made.