Even Better Than a Pumpkin Pie
This refined but rustic bread is topped with seasonal squash and greens. Tenderly balanced in texture and flavor, it’s heartbreaking when Pitfire removes it from the menu each year. But now you’ll know how to make one yourself.
Roasty-Toasty Butternut Squash
Slice butternut squash in half and scoop out seeds with a spoon. Rub down the squash with oil, sage leaves and a hearty pinch of salt and pepper. Pitfire roasts the squash in its wood-burning oven, but at home you should wrap the squash in foil to help it steam and roast in a 400°F oven for about 30 minutes. Remove foil and check the flesh with a fork to ensure it’s tender. Return to oven, or broiler, until the flesh develops smoky charred edges, 10 to 15 minutes. Allow to cool and scoop out 1.5-inch chunks.
Ainslie has an easy technique for separating Swiss chard leaves from the stem: Grip the base of the leaves with the nest of your hand (area between your thumb and index finger) and quickly strip them from the stalk. To remove the sandy soil, thoroughly soak the leaves in water. Remove from bath, but don’t worry about drying them—the water will help them cook. Run your knife through the chard to cut a wide chiffonade. Place a large pan over medium-high heat, drizzle with olive oil, and add half a finely diced red onion. Sweat the onions for 5 minutes, then add the chard and cook until the chard darkens and begins to sizzle, about 5 minutes more.
Brown Butter=Better Butter
Add the butter to a small lightly colored pan over medium heat. Keep a close eye in the butter as it begins to foam. When soft small bubbles appear you will begin to see brown specks rise through the foam. Take a whiff. Does it smell like buttery popcorn? If so, it’s not ready yet. When the foam tans and smells faintly of chestnuts, remove from heat and you’re done. Open your dough and drizzle with about 1 tablespoon nutty brown butter.
Time to Top
Add a layer of the mixed cheese. Scatter the wilted Swiss chard and chunks of butternut squash evenly over the dough and then cover with the rest of the cheese.
You Have a Hand-made Wood-Burning Oven, Right?
Into the oven it goes! Very few of us have wood-fired ovens, but if you do, you can bake it the Pitfire way: at 650°F for 3 minutes. For the rest of us, Ainslie recommends baking on a pizza stone in an oven preheated to 500°F-plus until puffy, golden brown, about 7 to 10 minutes.
The Finishing Touch
Don’t eat it yet—you’re almost done! Drizzle with the toasted pumpkin-seed oil, two generous pinches of pepitas, and a sprinkle of sea salt. OK, now you can eat!