If you’re looking for an easy last minute dessert to bring an extra dose of cozy to your Thanksgiving or Christmas table, I’ve got you covered.
Let me preface with the hard fact that I actually REALLY dislike pumpkin pie. I like the idea of a super seasonal dessert so I go for it if it’s in front of me but every pumpkin pie I’ve ever tried is too earthy, not sweet enough and just a bit bleh. Except my Nonna’s. My Nonna’s “punkin pie” (said in her thick Italian accent) has been my favorite dessert around the holiday season for as long as I can remember. It’s genuinely something I look forward to every year and has been one of those traditional staples in our house that lets us know the holiday season is upon us! So why is my Nonna’s pie exponentially better than any I’ve ever tried? I always chalked it up to being made with lots of love and having an Italian grandma’s special touch — but I was wrong.
There is one very key secret ingredient involved. And one very key ingredient not involved at all. Pumpkin. LOL
As an adult, I asked my mom to get the recipe from my Nonna so I could carry on the tradition in my own home and I was surprised to see that Nonna’s pumpkin pie isn’t actually a pumpkin pie at all. It’s a butternut squash pie and it is freaking delicious!!!
P.S. No one will know it’s not what it says it is but they will be pleasantly surprised that they enjoy it so much more than they ever imagined they’d ever enjoy a pumpkin pie. You’re about to wow your fam and friends. You’re welcome and let’s keep Nonna’s little secret hush hush, ya?
1 butternut squash
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp flour
1 lemon rind
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
1-2 cups of milk
2 deep dish pie crusts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Cut the end of your squash and slice into quarters. Peel the squash, scoop out seeds and dice into cubes.
Boil the squash for 15 minutes, drain well and mash the cubes until as smooth as possible.
Add all ingredients (except milk) to squash mash and mix by hand. Nonna was very specific about NOT using a blender here!
Slowly add milk, start with about 1 cup and add additional as needed depending on how big your squash was. Your mixture should be pretty liquid-like but still have a mixable consistency. (This part of the instructions is very Italian of me, I know. Nonna wasn’t very specific here so it’s one of those “you’ll know when it’s right when ya know” kinda things. Go with your gut. It’ll be great!)
Pour mixture into shells.
BONUS TIP: Place the pie shells onto baking sheets for extra support so you don’t spill on the way to the oven.
Bake for 1 hour. Let cool completely and I recommend storing your pies in the fridge until you’re ready to eat because it’s tastier when cold. Serve with loads of whipped cream and watch everyone enjoy your super easy (and sneaky) Autumnal masterpiece!!!
Shenae Grimes-Beech is an actor and YouTuber with a highly engaged community of like-minded women who are here to stand up for what they believe in and lean into discomfort, especially when it means doing the right thing.