Butternut Squash Pie-Cake

October 12, 2015
2 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Serves 8 to 10
Author Notes

The wackiest, weirdest part of the cake—even more so than its split cake versus pie identity—is that it's filled with chunks of butternut squash that have been roasted with orange, olive oil, cardamom, and the teeniest amount of brown sugar and honey. Perforated by chunks of a vegetable that's flavored just as often with cayenne as it is with maple syrup, the cake tightropes between savory and sweet.

So it's neither a pie nor a cake. And it's neither a dessert nor...okay, it's a dessert. But there are vegetables in the ingredient list!

Inspired by Nanny's Rosh Hashanah Apple Cake in Saveur: Jampel

What You'll Need
  • For the pie-cake:
  • 2 cups (9 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • For the roasted squash filling:
  • 2 pounds peeled and cubed butternut squash (1/4- to 1/2-inch cubes)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar, divided
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 orange
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/3 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
  1. In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the 2 sticks butter and pulse until it forms pea-sized crumbs. Pour in the egg and pulse until the dough just comes together and forms large clumps.
  2. Put a large piece of plastic wrap on your work surface. Remove about 1/3 of the dough from the food processor, place it on the plastic wrap, and use the wrap to flatten it into a disk. Flatten the remaining dough into a disk on another piece of plastic wrap. Wrap each piece well and refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  3. Now start on the squash. Preheat the oven to 425° F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss the squash with 1 tablespoon brown sugar and all of the ingredients except the hazelnuts. Make sure it is well coated in the oil, spices, and sweeteners. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice, until the squash is tender but not falling apart (it should be cooked to the point right before you'd want to eat it). Remove the squash from the oven and allow to cool.
  4. Turn the oven temperature down to 350° F. Grease a 9-inch pie dish (a slightly deeper dish than usual is better, and I used a glass pie dish so that I could monitor the browning). On a lightly floured work surface, use a rolling pin to roll the larger disk until it's 1/4- to 1/8-inch thick. Now is time to transfer it to the pie plate. You won't be able to transfer the dough in one go (as it crumbles apart), so just remove thin pieces and press them into the pie plate until you've got the whole thing over. You'll want to use the pads of your fingers to make sure the dough is uniformly thick around the bottom and edges of the pan. Reserve any scraps.
  5. Mix the hazelnuts into the cooled squash, then dump it into the prepared pie dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar evenly over the squash.
  6. Roll out the other piece of dough (it can be slightly thicker than the first piece—I rolled to about 1/2-inch thickness). Pinch off small pieces of the this disk and scatter, along with the scraps from the bottom dough, all over the squash, creating shingle-like pieces. (You might have some extra dough—I shaped mine into cookies and baked them for about 15 minutes!)
  7. Bake the cake until golden brown and bubbling in the center, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Transfer the cake to a rack and let cool completely before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Yayita
  • chez_mere
  • Jonnie
  • jan
  • meg

20 Reviews

Laura November 20, 2016
So, I made this and...I wasn't that excited about it. While I do absolutely love butternut squash, in the end, it tasted like a(n excellent) gooey sugar cookie with butternut squash in the middle.
Yayita October 24, 2016
I made this, and although I liked it I felt that it would have been even better if I had roasted the butternut squash with some salt over the honey and brown butter. This suggestion is definitely a personal one as butternut squash in my opinion is at its best when it's sweet and savory at the same time. Next time I bake this I will forgo the honey and brown sugar for a little bit of salt when I am roasting the the squash.
Louise November 27, 2015
I saw the comment about how it would keep - not a problem in my house since it was gone the night I made it! It was a hit. I made it in an 8" springform because it is easier to cut and serve - pushing the dough from the bottom up the sides. It was beautiful and delicious.
chez_mere November 9, 2015
Does anyone have thoughts about how well this would keep? I'd love to bake it the day before Thanksgiving... Good idea, or is it really better eaten the day it's made?
melissa November 9, 2015
i found it keeps without a problem!
Trees November 10, 2015
I think it's best when warm, so if you do make it ahead of time, I'd heat it up before serving it.
chez_mere November 10, 2015
Thanks for the advice fellow bakers! I'll report back on the results
Jonnie November 3, 2015
Wondering if doubling this recipe would work if I choose to bake it in a
38cm X 25cm X 4cm glass dish or a typical 9.5in X 13.5in X 2in glass Lasagna dish?
jan November 2, 2015
I'm down under. What's with butter sticks?

Liz November 3, 2015
Hi Jan, that's 113gm in metric.
Liz November 3, 2015
Let me clarify that: 113gm per stick.
meg November 2, 2015
How do I make It with Apple?
I went Apple picking and have a lot. Maybe you don't have to pre bake the apples but everything else is the same?
Sarah J. November 2, 2015
Yes, exactly!
Emily W. November 2, 2015
Would this work with frozen butternut squash???
Sarah J. November 2, 2015
It should, as long as you roast it first!
melissa November 2, 2015
it was like a pie in that there were two separate crusts, but when it baked together, the consistency was more like a cake (sweet, with crumbs) and less like a flaky pie crust.
Sarah J. November 2, 2015
Yes, exactly! It's got more heft and crumb than a traditional pie, and the crust is more akin to a sugar cookie.
ellent124 November 2, 2015
I don't get the cake reference? Seems like a pie to me...
melissa October 31, 2015
made this tonight since i wanted to use up the butternut squash in my CSA and i love cardamom. i found the dough to be sticky, so i rolled it flat in between two pieces of plastic wrap. the dough/crust is delicious! reminds me of strawberry shortcake. this will pair awesomely with a cup of coffee.
Trees October 29, 2015
In case anyone was wondering, 2 pounds of squash is about one average-sized butternut after it's skinned and gutted.