Recipe: Savory Kabocha Tofu Pie

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It's that time of year when winter gourds start tumbling across farmers' market tables and we become reacquainted with our ovens. Here's a little recipe for a warm and savory main dish pie featuring winter squash and rosemary.The recipe is loosely based on a favorite dish that my mom used to cook, tofu spinach pie from Brother Ron Pickarski's Friendly Foods cookbook. I've adapted it to incorporate the autumn flavors of sweet kabocha and fragrant rosemary. If you don't have a kabocha on hand, butternut or buttercup squash would be equally delicious. Tofu makes the filling hearty without being heavy, and it is especially wholesome when baked in a whole wheat olive oil crust. I'll be honest, the crust isn't as flaky as those that use refined flour and butter, but it has an earthy texture and flavor that I like alongside the sweet squash. (You may, of course, substitute any other crust that you like.)

Savory Kabocha Tofu Pie
Makes one 9" pie

Crust
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1/8 cup olive oil
Small pinch of salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)
1/4 cup ice water

Filling
2 pounds kabocha, peeled, seeded, and cubed (about 4 cups)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced
12 ounces firm tofu, mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons agave nectar mixed with 1 tablespoon water (optional)

For the Crust
(Adapted from Brother Ron Pickarski's Friendly Foods)

Mix the flours in a small bowl and freeze. Freeze the olive oil in a separate container. Both should remain in the freezer for one hour.

Mix the oil into the flour until it forms a crumbly meal. Stir the salt into the ice water and add the water to the flour mixture. Mix only to bind the dough. It may seem a little wet at first, but it should become drier as it absorbs moisture. If it's still too wet, you can add a little whole wheat flour to the dough.

Roll out the dough on a floured surface to 1/16" thick. Transfer to a 9" pie dish, trim, and crimp the edges. Set aside.

For the Filling

Preheat oven to 350F.

Steam the squash until soft (about 15 minutes) and mash with a fork.

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Sauté the onions and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add squash, tofu, rosemary, salt, and pepper and cook until heated through. Stir in the dissolved arrowroot, which will thicken the filling.

I like the hearty texture of the filling at this point, but for a smoother texture, you may process the filling in a food processor.

Pour the filling into the pie shell. Bake for 30 minutes. Optional: after 15 minutes in the oven, brush agave nectar and water mixture over the top of the pie to glaze.

Serve hot or warm.

(Image: Emily Ho)

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