This little-known recipe is a slight adaption from Pellegrino Artusi's 1891 “bible” of Italian cookery, "Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well."
Artusi calls it torta di zucca gialla, indicating that this pie is to be made with butternut pumpkin or squash. What makes this very different from North American style pumpkin pie is that it has no pastry base and the filling is made with almond meal (and therefore is gluten-free). It is a very moist pie with a pudding-like consistency. —Emiko
(1 kilogram) butternut squash or pumpkin
(500 milliliters) milk
3 1/2 ounces
(100 grams) soft brown muscovado sugar
(30 grams) melted butter, plus extra for greasing
3 1/2 ounces
(100 grams) almond meal
powdered sugar, for decoration
In This Recipe
Remove the seeds and skin of the squash/pumpkin and chop into inch-sized cubes. Place in a saucepan with the milk. Simmer about 25 to 30 minutes or until soft. Drain and leave squash/pumpkin in a colander or sieve to drain and evaporate as much as possible until cool (Artusi even instructs to drain until you have one third of the original weight of the squash). Then transfer to a bowl and mash or purée the squash/pumpkin.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs together with sugar, butter, almond meal, cinnamon and pinch of salt. Stir through the cooled squash/pumpkin to combine well.
Pour the mixture into a greased 9-inch (23 centimeter) pie dish. Smooth over the top to sprinkle with the sliced almonds.
Bake at 350º F (180° C) for 45 minutes or until golden on top and set. The sides will shrink away slightly. When cool, dust generously with powdered sugar and serve.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.