My great-grandmother, my mamaw, my mother, and I: we all know one thing. The best pumpkin pies aren’t made with pumpkins. They are made with Cushaw squash.
Huh? I know that sounds crazy. But follow me.
If you are reading today from the Friendsgiving Blog Hop, you just visited Emily at lecultivateur.com. Emily shared inspiring table ideas for the upcoming holiday. Be sure to check out her inspo and pin for later!
Now…let’s talk pie.
There have been Cushaws growing in the background of my Appalachian family garden for generations. And their only purpose- pie.
Assuming she learned from her mother, my Mamaw Faye perfected our family heirloom pumpkin pie. And I’ve spent every year since her passing trying to replicate it as a recipe. From planting her seeds in June to baking at 350 in November. It’s an Appalachian tradition, a nod to our past and taste of home.
Today, I am proudly sharing the written version of the recipe that lived in her mind, “some of this and a dash of that” kind of baking.Jump to Recipe
My Mamaw Faye was known for many things. She could quote the scripture, identify any bird outside her window, fish with a cane pole, crochet an afghan, and bake the flakiest biscuits.
Her crowning jewel though- she made the best Thanksgiving pumpkin pie of anyone around. Even the folks who claimed to “dislike” pumpkin pie, loved it and asked for seconds.
Her secret ingredient was Cushaw squash. Instead of using “pie pumpkins” or canned pumpkin purée, she would work up heirloom Cushaws from her own garden. Cushaws, with their green and white striped skin, prepare the same as other pumpkins and can be substituted in any pumpkin recipe, although they are technically squash. I think Cushaws have a more mild, sweeter taste than traditional pumpkin.Jump to Recipe
If you are using her recipe, feel free to experiment with any pumpkin of your choice. Green pumpkins, white pumpkins, or standard pie pumpkins; they all have their own unique flavor and can be used interchangeably. ((Your fall porch decorations just became a pie ingredient!))
But if you had asked Mamaw, only one “pumpkin” will do- the one that isn’t a pumpkin at all, Cushaw.
If you would like to grow Cushaws in your garden next year, email me at email@example.com and I will send a sampling of her heirloom Cushaw seeds. My only ask is that you make her pie next Thanksgiving, and share some of your seeds with another person. ((While supplies last, first come basis!))
OR buy seeds here from an online seller:
Mamaw’s Heirloom -Cushaw- Pumpkin Pie
- 1 whole Cushaw squash or Pumpkin of your choice you can substitute 2 cups canned pumpkin puree as well
- Olive oil and Salt for roasting
- 3 Eggs
- 1 cup Evaporated milk, Carnation
- 1 tsp. Pumpkin pie spice
- 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1 Pie crust, unbaked
- Whipped Cream for serving
- Wash your pumpkin or Cushaw squash thoroughly. Cut off the top, and chop it in half, length-wise.
- Scoop out all the seeds and strings from the middle of the pumpkin. Leave only the outer flesh. Retain seeds for planting next year.
- Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt. Then, lay the halves face down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake the pumpkin halves for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Flip over and return to the oven, roasting until the flesh is soft. Approximately 20-30 minutes longer. The pumpkin is ready when the flesh can be scooped with a spoon.
- Allow to cool moderately. Absorb any moisture pooled inside the pumpkin cavity with a paper towel. Scoop the flesh from the inside of the pumpkin. Drop into a blender or food processor.
- Puree flesh until it becomes one smooth mixture. This is pumpkin puree! It can be used to replace any canned pumpkin recipe.
- Measure 2 cups of the pumpkin puree. Place in mixer bowl.
- Add remaining pie filling ingredients. 1 cup of evaporated milk, 3 eggs, 1 cup of sugar, 1 tsp of pumpkin pie spice, and 1/2 tsp nutmeg.
- Mix well using a medium-low setting for approximately 2-2.5 minutes. Kitchenaid mixer setting 2.
- Prepare unbaked pie crust and place in a pie dish.
- Pour filling into unbaked pie shell. Be sure to not overfill. The pie filling will raise slightly.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. It's normal for the pie to puff; it will lower as it cools/sets.**I cover my pie crust with a pie shield or aluminum foil halfway through baking. This prevents the crust from over-browning.**If your pie is not ready after 60 minutes, just keep baking. Remove ONLY once the knife comes out clean.
- The pie will not be fully set until it cools.
- Store refrigerated. Serve with whipped cream.
Save this recipe for later by pinning this image:
I hope you will continue on the Friendsgiving Blog Hop, and visit Kylie at truemanstreasures.com. Kylie is sharing Thanksgiving Tablescape Inspiration. You can visit a total of twelve bloggers, including myself, on today’s hop. Feel free to pin and save for later! Happy Friendsgiving!
Friendsgiving Ideas & Inspiration
Eleanor Rose Home | LeCultivateur | Green Valley Gable | Truemans Treasures
Pasha is Home | Living Large in a Small House | Cloches & Lavender | Open Doors Open Hearts
Robyn’s French Nest | White & Woodgrain | Bricks ‘n Blooms | Tatertots & Jello
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My mother kept all of our baby gowns that looked identical to yours in the picture with your grandmother. They were exceptionally well made 100% cotton with a drawstring at the bottom. I was born in 1951 and they lasted through all five of my siblings and my four children. The drawstrings long gone they were more nightgowns that my three boys used too. I wish they still made things the same way.
Oh my, it looks delicious! I love tgat you included pics of her. This is so special ❤️
What a great tradition! I’m not a fan of dessert but I do love pumpkin pie. I’m sure I would love this.
I absolutely LOVE your post girl!!! I love all the history and the pictures you shared of how far back this recipe and your cashews goes!! LOVE IT!!
This recipe looks SO good! I love recipes that were passed down from generation to generation. Pinning and perfect for fall.
I have never heard of cushaw squash before Stacey! I loved reading the story of your family and seeing you as a giant baby (that made me laugh out loud!). This pie looks delicious and now I am on the hunt for cushaw squash! Pinned!!!
I loved hear it about the history of your “pumpkin” pie. So special. Blessings to you.
This sounds and looks delicious. Great hopping with you! Pinned
Robyn Huff says
It looks delicious! Nothing better than a grandma’s recipe!
Oh my gosh, reading this just felt like a hug from you and your Mamaw! I am gonna have to try this pie recipe Stacey! 🙂 Love ya girl!
This looks and sounds amazing!!! Pinning to make this Thankagiving! I can’t wait to try it!!
Your pie looks amazing and I love that it’s a family recipe. I can’t wait to make it and I pinned it to my recipe board to share. Yum!!
Diana Estes says
I love the story that goes along with the recipe! Those touch my heart strings! I’ve made a pumpkin pie from Cushaw squash and it is delicious. I plan to try you Mawmaw’s recipe. If you have any seeds left I would love to plant them for next Thanksgivings pie.
Stacy, I love history and family genealogy, so I love reading about your grandmother and the history behind this recipe. I confess I’ve never heard of this type of squash, but between your stunning photos and the way you describe it, this pie sounds like it is to die for.
I’m going to share a link to your recipe in my week in rewind recap tomorrow. I bet my readers will be interested in learning more about it too.