It’s Not My Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie

It’s Not My Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie

November 04, 2019
Ty Dahlstrom

I’m not exaggerating when I tell you that I was a decidedly picky eater growing up. I was the kind of picky eater that made holidays challenging for everyone else in my family. I hardly indulged in any of the beloved components of the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, opting for plain mashed potatoes begrudgingly consumed with some kind of sweet roll and MAYBE some gravy… if I was feeling particularly adventurous. And yes, that pickiness extended even into the realms of sacred dessert. My grandmother made a pumpkin pie that she and the rest of my family swore by, but I had made up my mind from an early age that pumpkin pie was not for me. I didn’t care that it was my great-grandmother’s recipe or that it had been freshly made that day from scratch. Pumpkin pie had a strange color, a texture that I couldn’t get behind and worst—it wasn’t made of chocolate. 

Enter 2019 and I’m developing a catering menu for Cartel Coffee Lab. I know that we want to have a special menu for Thanksgiving. I know that menu must contain pie and several types of it. And I cannot silence the voice of my inner child trying to remind me: NOTHING GOOD CAN COME FROM PUMPKIN PIE. My rational, adult mind knows this is patently false. In recent years I have come around to a quality pumpkin, butternut squash, and/or sweet potato pie. I’ve fallen in love with the history of them, the fact that they come from seasonal produce, their delicate texture, and delightfully spiced and not-too-sweet interior. And I know that there is no way in hell this menu is being developed without a squash pie on it because EVERYONE HAS A PUMPKIN PIE LOVER IN THEIR FAMILY. If you have a gathering of 5 or more people for Thanksgiving, I kid you not, at least one of those five people is a DIE HARD pumpkin pie fanatic. And to those folks, the idea of having Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie is akin to basically canceling the entire holiday season.


So I’m writing this blog post to introduce you to the squash pie that both my childhood and adult self can get excited about. It’s a pie that makes sense with the rest of our culinary program, giving a nod to another popular item that we make year-round. It comes with mousse (you know, to fancy it up a bit), and it has a few other players that layer texture and depth of flavor so that it really sings with every bite. This pie is the Golden Milk Squash Pie with Toasted Coconut and Caramelized White Chocolate Mousse. The flavor of the custard is full-bodied starting with some coconut flour and brown sugar to bulk-up and round out the yellow squash base. The custard is then seasoned with turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, and a bit of lemon. We then caramelize white chocolate, make it into a ganache, and fold it into whipped cream for a rich and decadent mousse (which childhood Casey would totally approve of because… chocolate). We top the pie off with toasted coconut chips adding a layer of crunch, which never harms and only benefits every dessert. And lastly, our traditional flaky pie dough gets brushed with butter post bake and sprinkled with our snickerdoodle sugar mix for an added layer of spice in every bite.


I didn’t want to make y’all just another pumpkin pie. You’ve had pumpkin pie and according to my calculations, there’s at least a 20% chance that you are mad about it! I wanted to make a pie that is distinctly Cartel, that satisfies everyone who loves pumpkin pie, and that will also cater to your Thanksgiving attendees looking for something different on the dessert table. So I invite you to try the Golden Milk Squash Pie that this reformed pumpkin pie hater has come to LOVE! I sincerely hope that it hits the spot for everyone at your holiday table- littles and grown-ups, pumpkin lovers and haters alike. 


- Casey Hopkins 


Check out the brand new Cartel Kitchen catering menu here.