Known in French as “Citrouillat Berichon”, this traditional butternut squash tourtiere celebrates the bounty of squash grown in the Berry region of France. A picture-perfect terroir dish.
Terroir food is often translated as “food of the earth”, describing the unique flavor imparted to food or drink by a specific region’s climate, soil, elements and often history.
And to me, this dish is the perfect illustration of terroir cuisine.
This traditional recipe reminds us of the impressive abundance of squash grown in the Berry Region of France. And among all the varieties, locals have a special love for the Sucrine du Berry.
The Sucrine du berry (also called “sweet one from Berry”) is a heritage squash that appeared in the Berry centuries ago and that remains a flagship product in the region today. It has a tender flesh and sweet musky flavors. Making it a stellar ingredient for this dish.
And with just a few herbs and spices added, the squash is truly meant to shine on its own in this tourtiere.
But the French Heritage Sucrine du Berry squash is hard to find in some regions of France (and even more so in North America, obviously). And glancing through recipes online, I realized it has actually become very common to create this Tourtiere with other types of squash, such as butternut or acorn -and sometimes pumpkin as well.
Each squash has a different taste and a different sweetness to it. And even more so, a squash grown in North America will certainly not display the same flavor profile as one from Berry. But that is what terroir is all about, in all its beautiful discrepancies.
Sucrine du Berry, butternut, acorn – which ever squash you choose for this recipe – will impart a specific taste to the dish. And by that, each one of them will keep alive the versatility of this dish – hence the beautiful uncertainty of terroir cuisine.
A beautiful regional dish that is kept alive through time and frontiers.
As I always like to think, we are all capable of creating a beautiful French-style dish with our local, seasonal ingredients, wherever we are in this world. Because it’s not all about French food, it’s about enjoying food the French way.
This tourtiere is so unique, yet very simple to make. You can choose to buy your double-crust pie dough or make your own. I used this recipe – which is great for savory pies and quiches.
The real recipe doesn’t have cinnamon in it. I thought I would try it this time (although I was not sure how it would marry with the parsley), and it was delicious!
To serve this Butternut Squash Tourtiere, slice an opening and drop dollops of crème fraiche inside (or sour cream as a substitute). Roughly mix the filling, and “re-seal” the tourtiere before bringing it to the table…
Butternut Squash Tourtiere from BerryPrint This
2 teaspoons of coarse salt
1 double-crust pie dough
1 medium-size butternut squash, peeled and diced
6 sprigs of flat parsley
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 egg yolk
The night before – Once your butternut is peeled and diced, dump it in a big bowl with the coarse salt. Mix well to make sure the salt is covering all the butternut cubes. Transfer into a cheesecloth (or a simple kitchen cloth), hang (to the faucet or a doorknob), with a bowl underneath, and let the butternut “drain” all night (it will drain a fair amount of liquid, so make sure your bowl underneath is big enough).
The day of – Rinse off the butternut cubes thoroughly. Dry it off and mix it with the cut up parsley, diced up scallions, cinnamon and pepper.
Pre-heat your oven to 350F
Lay your first pie roll (raw, not pre-baked) in a 9” deep-dish pie plate. Poke holes in the crust with a fork. Dump the butternut squash filling inside, lay the second pie roll on top and close it down. Trim the excess dough all around, and pinch all around the pie to seal the bottom and top crusts. (optional: make decorations with the trimmings).
Brush the egg yolk on the top crust.
Poke a hole in the center of the top pie crust and insert a tiny chimney made of roll-up parchment paper (to allow steam to escape)
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the crust is lightly golden. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.