My association with this wonderful time of year is not just about pumpkin-spice-everything, turkey, and traditional acorn or butternut squashes. Oh, no, as a matter of fact, this is when our garden is over-flowing with a green, pear shaped squash, drooping from heavily-laden vines, known as a pipinola, or chayote. This crisp, versatile squash can be used in many, many savory recipes, such as stir-fry, chicken soup (tinola), or shredded and pickled with daikon and carrots.
It is a little less common to find a recipe that is sweet and dessert-like using this plentiful gourd. Today, I am sharing a recipe that is one of my best kept secrets, and it has both chayote squash and apples in it, it’s called, “Island Magic Apple Pie”. Why magic? Because the squash will absorb the flavor of the spices and apples, not only saving you money, but will additionally fool the kids into eating their vegetables. 🙂
It’s important to pre-cook the squash slices first, and then drain, so that they come out a similar consistency as the apples when fully baked in the pie. After peeling and removing the inner seed from the squash, you’ll also want to slice the pieces the same exact way and size as the apples, so that they look similar. In the photo, the sliced squash pieces fanned-out on the cutting board look almost exactly like granny Smith apples.
So, perhaps you don’t have a way to get a hold of the squash? No problem. You may also leave out the squash entirely and sub all apples in this recipe, and it will still be freaking awesome! I would use two granny Smith in place of the two squash. This recipe makes one lovely deep dish pie, in which I have used my cast-iron skillet for the job, and it works great. If you want to use a regular size pie tin, please cut down the filling by 1/3, and that includes squash/ apples and sauce.
If you are using the frozen, unrolled pie crusts, thaw them according to instructions and keep them lightly chilled until ready to use. Believe me, this one is in my top five of all-around favorite recipes, and I truly want you have the best experience, so if you have additional questions, please leave a comment below. Happy Monday!
Island Magic Apple Pie
An island twist on a traditional holiday dessert.
- 2 thawed pie crusts, I use the unrolled frozen kind, (or you can make your own)
- 2 medium-large size chayote (pipinola)
- 2 red apples such as fuji or gala
- 1 green granny Smith apple
- 3/4 cup refined coconut oil (or 1 & 1/2 sticks real butter)
- 4 tablespoons AP flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 cup cane sugar (or regular white sugar)
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon bourbon or whisky (optional)
- Peel and core apples and slice into lengthwise pieces for pie. Set aside in medium size bowl.
- Wearing gloves, peel chayote and slice in half lengthwise. Remove white seed from both halves. Carefully slice them similarly to the thickness and shape of pieces of apple.
- In a medium saucepan, cover squash slices with water and boil for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let drain for 6-8 minutes. When fully drained, add to bowl of apples and toss together.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- In a medium saucepan, melt coconut oil. Once melted, gradually add the flour and stir until it becomes pasty.
- Next, add water, brown sugar and white sugar. Bring contents to a quick boil and then reduce temperature and simmer until mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, about 5-6 minutes.
- Take off of heat and stir in the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and whisky. Pour this syrup mixture over the apples and squash and toss together, making sure all of the pieces are coated.
- If using the unrolled pie crusts, take one of the crusts and carefully unroll it into the bottom of your cast iron skillet. You may have to shape it a little bit to fit all around the sides.
- Gently add, and pack down all of the apples and squash, and pour any remaining syrup in the sauce pan all over the filling. At this point, you may carefully lay the second crust on top of the filling and cut two slits in the top to vent the pie, or, you can cut your second piece of dough into strips like I did, and lay them intersecting each other in a lattice-style top.
- Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until the top starts to brown- depending on your oven. Let cool before cutting. Serve with coconut ice cream. (If you use homemade dough, you may want to brush the top with milk so it browns nicely, but there is no need to do that when using the frozen crust.)