Cushaw, also known as kershaw, is an heirloom winter squash. It comes in a number of different varieties, but the green-striped is the most common. Now is the time to find it at your local farmers market. Next year, I want to grow my own! Though we did get these for free. They had a few flaws and were sent away to the island of misfit produce (aka my kitchen). Lucky me, I get pies! Each of these cushaws made enough puree for two pies.
Cushaws keep really well once harvested (store them in a cool, dark place and they’ll keep for a year) and they can be used in all the same ways you might use pumpkin in baking. They’re a bit sweeter, and once you make a cushaw pie, you might never want to use pumpkin again!
To prepare cushaw for baking in recipes, cut it apart. Remove seeds and strings.
Place pieces face-down on a greased baking sheet and bake at 350-degrees for an hour and a half (or until tender when pierced with a fork). Cool then scoop cushaw out of skin. Puree with a masher or food processor to the consistency of mashed potatoes. Use cup for cup in recipes as you would canned solid-pack pumpkin. Refrigerate up to a week before using or store in the freezer for several months.
Don’t toss those seeds out! Rinse and dry seeds then toss in a small amount of olive oil (amount depending on how much seeds you have) then place on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt and roast at 375-degrees until lightly golden. It makes a great snack and it comes as a free bonus with your squash!
In coming up with a pie recipe for my very special squash bounty, I looked at several pumpkin pie recipes as a starting point then made some changes including the addition of more spices to warm it up and take advantage of the extraordinary flavor you get with a cushaw.
How to make Cushaw Squash Pie:
2 cups prepared cushaw squash puree
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 ounces evaporated milk
pastry for single-crust pie
Combine cushaw squash puree, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, salt, nutmeg, and cloves in a medium-size mixing bowl. Add eggs and vanilla then beat lightly with a whisk. Stir in evaporated milk. Mix well. Pour into a pastry-lined pie plate. Bake on the lowest oven rack at 375-degrees for 50-60 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean). Chill before serving.
This is a rich, delicious pie, full of flavor. And while it’s baking? It’ll make your house smell like autumn. Enjoy!
*You can replace the cushaw squash in this recipe with pumpkin or any other winter squash.