Home USA News Kusho Zucchini Pie is better than any pumpkin recipe

Kusho Zucchini Pie is better than any pumpkin recipe

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Pumpkin pie is a delicious, creamy and soft alternative to pumpkin.  Kushou keeps well into the winter and is available at farmers markets, farm stores, and some grocery stores, such as Good Foods Co-op.

Pumpkin pie is a delicious, creamy and soft alternative to pumpkin. Kushou keeps well into the winter and is available at farmers markets, farm stores, and some grocery stores, such as Good Foods Co-op.

When Beckham Sharpe and his family switched from growing tobacco to growing produce on their farm in Kentucky more than a decade ago, they were busy selling pumpkins and giant pumpkins, called cuchos, that many people used as a seasonal decoration on their farm every fall. their yards and entrances.

But as Sharpe soon realized, some of his customers — particularly those “from the older generation, 75 to 90 years old,” he says, filling orders for half-bushel boxes of the farm’s fruits and vegetables — weren’t buying kushou. for display only.

They were bought for food, especially at this time of year as a main ingredient in casseroles and pies.

“They put brown sugar, butter and cinnamon on them,” says Sharp. “I have an aunt who makes this for us every year.”

The older generation, it turns out, are the keepers of wisdom about an old-time Kentucky delicacy known as cucho, which, when stewed or baked and mashed, has a pumpkin-like color and texture (but lighter).

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Kevin Nance

“Cusho was the only squash most Kentucky farmers planted when I was a kid a hundred years ago,” jokes Georgia Greene Stamper of Lexington, who grew up on a farm in Owen County and is the author of the essay collection. Oil in the Morning: Slices of Kentucky Life. “My mother – and most village cooks in my experience – would remove the skin and carefully stew the entrails. Then the mother drained it and transferred the pulp, the cooked consistency, into a pot, covered it liberally with sugar, butter, cinnamon, etc. and baked until bubbly, lightly browned on top.’

Although not as common on holiday tables as it once was, kusho is still grown and eaten on Kentucky farms and remains available at farmers markets and some grocery stores each fall and early winter.

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Kevin Nance

For example, at the Dyer Farm in Sharpsburg, Kentucky, Laura and Sid Dyer sometimes plant kush between the corn rows. “It saves space in the field, and the corn shades them so they don’t burn,” says Laura Dyer, who sells kusho at farmers markets in Lexington. “I like to put grated kusho in the cake batter, which makes the cake moist.”

The biggest impression of kush is probably in a pie.

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Kevin Nance

Baking a cake from kush

“It’s like pumpkin pie, but better,” says Lexington cookbook author Barbara Harper-Bach, 82, whose “Kentucky Pure Pie Clinic” a recipe for a cake made of kush is presented. “In the 1970s, when I was raising children, someone brought me a kushava and I thought, what the hell what? I had to go to the library to research it. I made a pie and told my kids it was pumpkin pie because I didn’t think they would eat anything called kusha. And they said it was the best pumpkin pie they’d ever had. And that’s why we’re still doing it today.”

To make the pie, Harper-Bach gutted a medium yellow Kush from Sharpe Farms—at his suggestion, I went with a 12-pound, thicker-necked Kush where most of the flesh is a vegetable brush. After saving the skin, she cuts the kusho into large pieces, scoops out the seeds (which can be saved and planted next season), then roasts the kusho, as she calls it, “meat” with olive oil. sheet metal about 90 minutes at 350 degrees.

She then scooped the soft flesh right inside food processor, pureed, then pressed into a metal sieve to strain. It released a surprising amount of moisture into the bowl in the fridge overnight – so much moisture that she had to empty the bowl twice.

Barbara Harper-Bach and her dog Butler_-4_DxO.jpg

“The secret to pureeing is to strain it overnight,” says Harper-Bach. “It has a lot of water in it, so if you don’t strain it, your cake will be watery. I googled a bunch of kush pie recipes and none of them said to soak them overnight. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have the concentrated flavor you’re looking for.”

She admits that the process of making a good kush pie from scratch takes a lot of time. “Any time you cook from scratch it’s a little more time-consuming than if you just buy it in a jar or whatever,” she says. “But I’ve been trying to teach people how to cook from scratch for years because it saves a lot of money and the results are so much better. And the proof is in the pudding.”

So it was. Harper-Bach’s Cusho Pie, slightly modified from her Pure Kentucky Pie Clinic recipe—she used half-and-half instead of heavy cream and cut the white sugar in half—was much less dense and slightly sweeter than traditional pumpkin pie. The custard filling was light golden brown and spiced—like pumpkin pie, but better.

“It’s not as orange as pumpkin pie, but it’s enough to fool young people,” Harper-Bach says with a laugh, handing over a slice. “You don’t even need the whipped cream or eggnog ice cream that I suggest in the cookbook. It’s damn fine as it is.’

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