Have you seen the winter squash displays around town? If you walk into just about any grocery store, you are sure to be greeted by mountains of squash in all shapes, colors and sizes. Why? You might ask. The answer is quite simple: It is an absolutely amazing food.

These little shelf-stable pots of gold offer everything you could want from a food – great flavor, nutrition and versatility. Squash is used to make pies, muffins, cookies, soups, casseroles, raviolis and even ice-cream.

The startling fact of the matter is that pumpkin is probably one of the least flavorful varieties of squash. The most incredible pie for my holiday table is made with Delicata or Sweet Dumpling Squash. Delicata squash has a long cylindrical shape and cream color with dark green stripes. Sweet Dumpling has a flat, flute shape and a light cream to white background, with dark green stripes. Both have an amazing sweet flavor. If you choose an organic variety, you will find the flavor is even sweeter. Enjoy and happy organic holidays.

Delicata Squash Pie
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees

Crust
8 tablespoons cold butter
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons ice water

Cut the butter into tablespoons and chill. Mix the whole wheat pastry flour with the salt in a bowl. Add the cold butter pieces and cut in using a pastry cutter until mixture resembles corn meal. Add ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time until dough forms into a ball. Gather up and pat into a disk, refrigerate dough for 30 minutes. Roll dough out on a lightly floured board. Place dough in pie plate and carefully fit into place. Trim edges and crimp for a decorative crust.

Filling
1 1/4 cups Delicata Squash Puree
3/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
2 organic eggs, plus 2 yolks lightly beaten
1 cup organic cream

Combine all filling ingredients. Pour into pie shell. Place in oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until pie is set in center. Cool to room temperature. Chill in refrigerator. Optional: Serve with honey sweetened whip cream. Serves 8

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Bea James is Senior Whole Health Manager at Lunds and Byerly's. She is a member of the USDA National Organic Standards Board, member of the International Association of Natural Products Producers, and Chair of the Food Marketing Institute Natural Foods Committee. Bea is a long time chef appearing on local radio and TV to advocate organic foods, as well as former deli manager of two Twin Cities Natural Food Co-ops. She can be reached for organic questions at bea.james@lfhi.com Copyright © 2005 Bea James. All rights reserved.

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