“Topped with a sticky-sweet, nutty crumble topping, my twist on the American classic is a real treat! I’ve swapped pumpkin for butternut squash here as I love the natural sweetness it gives, plus I find it’s easier to get hold of. Enjoy! ”
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF/gas 6. Lightly grease a deep, 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin.
To make the pastry, chop the butter into 1cm cubes and place in a food processor with the flour, icing sugar and a good pinch of sea salt.
Halve the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add to the food processor, then pulse to fine crumbs. Crack in the egg, add a splash of milk, then pulse until it forms a rough dough.
Pat and bring the dough together into a round, then wrap in clingfilm and pop in the fridge to chill for at least 1 hour.
For the filling, quarter and deseed the squash, place on a baking tray, then add a generous grating of nutmeg. Sprinkle over the ginger and cinnamon, drizzle with the maple syrup, then cover the tray tightly with a double layer of tin foil and bake 1 hour, or until soft. Leave to cool.
Reduce the oven temperature to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.
On a clean flour-dusted surface, roll out the pastry until it’s around ½cm thick, then loosely roll up around the rolling pin and unroll over the tart tin, easing it in and pushing it carefully into the sides.
Trim off any excess pastry, patch up any holes, then prick the base with a fork, cover and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes (use any leftover pastry to make a few cheeky mince pies).
When the time’s up, line the pastry case with quality clingfilm (non-PVC), then fill with rice, making sure you pack it right out to the sides. Bake blind for 10 minutes, remove the clingfilm and rice and bake for a further 10 minutes, or until lightly golden, then leave to cool.
Scoop the squash flesh and any bits from the tray into the food processor, add the sugar and maple syrup and whiz until smooth.
Melt the butter and pour into the processor, then crack in the eggs and pulse to combine. Fill the cooled pastry case almost to the top with the mix and bake for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the topping. Place the pecans into the food processor (give it a quick rinse first) and pulse until roughly chopped
Add the butter, flour, sugar and maple syrup, then pulse to a rough crumb.
When the time’s up, remove the tart from the oven, sprinkle over the topping, then bake for a further 20 minutes, or until golden. Leave to cool before slicing.
Delicious served with a dollop of boozy cream. I sometimes like to decorate my pie with extra toasted pecans, just before serving, too.