Dr. Jewell-Larsen’s Secret to Amazing Pumpkin Pie

Dr. Jewell-Larsen's Secret to Amazing Pumpkin Pie

Secret to Amazing Pumpkin Pie

In the spirit of healthy holidays and the art of Naturopathic Medicine, I’d like to reveal my secret to crafting the most exquisite pumpkin pie. It lies not only in the recipe you follow, but also in selecting the most flavorful and nutrition-rich varieties of winter squash. A truly amazing pumpkin pie harmonizes the sweetness of the squash with the incredible richness derived from its hidden nutritional benefits.

Reducing the amount of sugar added to traditional recipes allows the delightful flavor of the squash to shine through, without being overshadowed by excessive sweetness.

Butternut Squash for Pumpkin Pie

You may ask, which winter squash make the cut for the best pumpkin pie? It’s not the vibrant, orange-skinned sugar pumpkin that comes to mind for most of us!

One of my top choices is butternut squash.

This humble squash is not only deliciously sweet and moist, but it’s also packed with health benefits. It’s rich in vitamins A and C, essential for boosting immunity and maintaining optimal eye health. Plus, it contains high levels of magnesium and potassium, vital for heart health.

The Jarrahdale pumpkin is my second top choice.

Jarrahdale Pumpkins

These green-blue beauties, resembling Cinderella’s pumpkin, are often found in the decorative squash section during Halloween, adding a rustic charm to any setting. However, their appeal goes beyond aesthetics.

Jarrahdales are a true delight for food enthusiasts!

Not only do they possess a sweet, creamy texture that is perfect for pie fillings, but they are also a nutritional powerhouse. These pumpkins are rich in fiber, aiding in digestion, and packed with beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A is crucial for maintaining eye health and boosting the immune system.

Additionally, their high potassium content helps regulate blood pressure levels, while their abundance of vitamin C promotes healthy skin and joint health.

To incorporate these squash into your pumpkin pie recipe, begin by preparing the squash.

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. 
  2. With a large sharp knife, pierce the squash near the stem and rock back and forth to cut your squash in halves. 
  3. Remove the seeds with a large spoon.  Set these aside to roast later if you’d like! 
  4. Rub the flesh of the squash with olive oil and place face down on a parchment lined baking sheet (saves a lot of soaking and scrubbing later).
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 30-60 minutes.  You’ll know the squash is done when you’re able to easily insert a fork through the skin into the flesh.  When done, remove from the oven and allow to cool on the baking sheet.
  6. Once cool enough to handle, remove flesh from skin using a  large spoon. 
  7. Use a blender or food processor to puree the flesh to a smooth texture. 

Use your prepared squash puree in your favorite pumpkin pie recipe.  My favorite is Smitten Kitchen’s Silky Smooth Pumpkin Pie recipe.

Depending on the natural sweetness of the squash, I reduce the amount of added sugar by 25-50%.  Additionally, for families like mine with dietary restrictions such as dairy and low or no gluten, consider implementing the following substitutions:

  • Butter -> non-dairy shortening like Earth Balance Buttery Sticks
  • Milk and cream -> plain almond or soy milk
  • Wheat flour -> einkorn flour (low gluten wheat relative) or gluten free flour mix like Bob’s Redmill All Purpose Gluten Free Flour or Cup for Cup

Although roasting the squash yourself requires some extra preparation time, the final outcome will undoubtedly exceed your expectations!

For future baking projects or squash soups, consider freezing your leftover squash in convenient 1-cup portions. This way, you’ll always have it on hand whenever culinary inspiration strikes.

Dr. Jennifer Jewel-Larsen
Naturopathic Doctor San Jose


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