New Holiday Flavors: Butternut Squash-Orange Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream

Switch up your holiday pie routine with this creamy butternut squash and orange filling.

Photo by: Michelle Dudash ©Scripps

Michelle Dudash, Scripps

Butternut squash and oranges breathe new life into a classic holiday pie. The natural sweetness of fresh orange juice replaces up to one-third of the added sugar found in traditional pie recipes. The orange’s flavor and acidity also allow for a 50 percent reduction in added salt.

While regular navel oranges are a fine and dandy choice for this recipe, there are other options to consider, like extra-sweet Cara Caras and dark red-pigmented Moro oranges (aka blood oranges), which offer a change of pace in flavor and hue. Whichever you choose, read the product sticker. For optimal flavor and freshness, select oranges from within the United States.

Plant-based coconut oil replaces butter, lending a slightly sweet, buttery taste to the crust. Canned light coconut milk adds creaminess to the filling, replacing evaporated milk. Dollops of whipped coconut cream will really give you and your guests something to swoon over.

Butternut Squash-Orange Pie with Coconut Whipped Cream

Yield: 12 servings

Total Time: 5 1/2 hours


For the crust:

1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (or use whole-wheat flour or all-purpose flour)

Zest of 1 medium orange, finely grated

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup virgin coconut oil, cold

2 tablespoons + 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh orange juice, cold (or adjust as needed)

For the filling:

2 3/4 cups cooked butternut squash, gently packed*

2/3 cup canned light coconut milk

1/4 cup real maple syrup

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice**

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

For the whipped cream:

1 (14-ounce) can regular coconut milk (not light or the beverage), chilled until solid

2 teaspoons powdered sugar


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

To make the crust: Combine flour, orange zest and salt. Using a teaspoon, add small chunks of the solid oil to the dry ingredients. Incorporate the oil, using a pastry blender or two forks, until the dough appears pebbly.

Sprinkle in the orange juice and stir gently, just until moistened and so you can shape it into a ball. Do not overmix. 

latten into a thick disk, wrap in plastic and refrigerate 30 to 60 minutes, until the dough is a bit firmer, but not solid. Uncover and place the dough between two sheets of parchment or waxed paper, rolling into an 11-to-12-inch circle, about 1/8 inch thick.

Remove the top sheet and flip over onto a 9-inch pie pan. Pat out air bubbles and fill any cracks. Fold over edges of crust and crimp with a fork or your thumb and forefinger. Place on a baking sheet.

To make the filling: Combine all of the filling ingredients in a blender, except the eggs, and blend on high until smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs and puree on low speed just until incorporated. Pour the filling into the prepared pie pan. Place in the oven and bake 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees F. Bake until the center of the pie is no longer liquid when you shake it gently (though it will still jiggle a bit), about 40 to 50 minutes. Cool completely and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the whipped cream: Pour off the clear liquid from the coconut milk so that only the thick solid portion remains***.

Place the solid portion in a pre-chilled mixing bowl and whip on high speed, until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar and whisk until soft to medium peaks form. Chill until ready to use.


*For the cooked squash, you can begin with a variety of options, including a whole 2 1/2-pound squash, raw prediced squash (about 5 cups) or frozen squash (2 10-ounce packages). To roast from a whole squash, preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper for easier cleanup. Cut off the stem and cut the squash down the middle, the long way. Scoop out the seeds and pulp. Quarter each half. Place the halves skin-side up and bake until fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Using two forks or spoons, peel away the skins from the flesh.

**In place of pumpkin pie spice, you may substitute 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger and 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves.

***Some brands of canned coconut may not solidify upon refrigeration. If you experience this, do your best to pour out the clear liquid while holding the white milk back with a spoon. It will still form a spoonable cream topping. Alternatively, you may select canned unsweetened cream of coconut, which is nearly all solid, but not as widely available.

Per serving (pie): Calories 195; Fat 8 g (Saturated 7 g); Cholesterol 115 mg; Sodium 115 mg; Carbohydrate 29 g; Fiber 3 g; Protein 3 g; Vitamin A 5% DV; Calcium 5% DV; Vitamin C 0% DV; Iron 8% DV

Per serving (cream): Calories 67; Fat 7 g (Saturated 6 g); Cholesterol 0 mg; Sodium 4 mg; Carbohydrate 1 g; Fiber 0 g; Protein 1 g; Vitamin A 0% DV; Calcium 0% DV; Vitamin C 0% DV; Iron 5% DV

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