Guest Author - Phyllis Doyle Burns
Candy Roaster is a cultivated squash in the cucurbita maxima species. It originally came from South America as a wild plant well over 4000 years ago. The Cherokee people of southern Appalachia came across the seeds in trade and developed the Candy Roaster into what is today's cultivated, and prized favorite, of southern Appalachia cooking.
A Candy Roaster can be anywhere from 10 to 100 pounds (sometimes even larger) when fully mature. The shape and color varies -- it can be round, teardrop, cylindrical, and light pink, tan, green, blue, gray, or orange. It is a winter squash, very productive and can be stored during the winter, for it keeps well. The Georgia Candy Roaster is easy to grow with low maintenance. It grows like a vine.
This is a very versatile squash when it comes to cooking. One of the popular recipes is to use it like pumpkin for pies. The Candy Roaster is quite common in southern Appalachia and a favorite of many families during the holidays.
Candy Roaster Pie
This recipe is enough for one pie in a 9 inch deep dish pie plate. You can also use your favorite pumpkin pie recipe and substitute Candy Roaster for Pumpkin. The look and taste is very similar to pumpkin pie, yet a little sweeter.
2 cups pureed Candy Roaster squash (see below for preparation)
1 can evaporated milk (12 ounce)
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (ground)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (ground)
1/2 teaspoon cloves (ground)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Wash the squash, cut it open lengthwise, remove seeds, and cut squash into small pieces. Steam squash till tender, drain and place on cookie sheet, single layer, set aside to cool.
Measure out all other ingredients. Eggs should be room temperature before breaking open. When squash is cool, scoop out the pulp with a wooden spoon and place pulp in large mixing bowl. Mash the pulp with a potato masher, or you can put it in a blender and blend till smooth and pureed. Measure out two cups for pie and place in large mixing bowl.
Lightly beat eggs with a fork and add to the squash. Add sugar, salt and spices and blend well. Slowly stir in milk and blend till well mixed and smooth.
Pour mixture into pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. Test with a clean knife by inserting knife gently into center, if knife comes out clean the pie is done.
Freeze any leftover pureed squash, or bake more pies, or, as I like to do, place in custard cups and bake at 350 degrees till done, using clean knife test. Place a walnut half in the center of each custard and serve warm or cold, with whipped cream. The pureed squash can also be served as a side dish. Make a sauce with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and chopped pecans, simmered till almost caramelized. Mix with squash and bake till hot throughout.