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If you’re accustomed to roasting a winter squash and then scooping out the soft flesh to make soup, then you can create a pumpkin pie easily without canned pumpkin. You can roast the squash and let it cool while you’re working on the crust. I won’t lie; making an entire pie from scratch can take some time, but it gets easier with time.

Cathy Erway

The best thing about using fresh winter squash instead of the canned puree is variety of flavors. In my opinion, just about every other type of winter squash is better for pie-making than classic round pumpkins. Butternut, acorn, kabocha (the nutty Japanese variety), and most any other deep orange-fleshed squash works beautifully. Actual pumpkins tend to be fairly watery and stringy once cooked. For this pie, I used a carnival squash that had been adorning my apartment since the beginning of October — it had green and white speckles on orange skin, and looked a bit like a fireworks display.

In the end, no one could tell what type of “pumpkin” I’d used in my pie, least of all that I had salvaged my Halloween decoration for this dessert. With a bit of caramelization, that roasted squash tasted much better than the average can o’ pumpkin mush, and required less sugar than most recipes, too.

Cathy ErwayWho says you need canned pumpkin and condensed milk to make this classic pie?

Winter squash pie

Makes one nine-inch pie.