Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Sweet Potato Pie




I am a big fan of sweet potatoes and a big fan of pumpkin pie. Sweet potato pie is a classic dessert from the Southern USA that marries these two together. I had never tried it before (let alone make it) so this was an exciting new experience. Not only that, but it was absolutely delicious. I thought since the American Thanksgiving is coming up soon this would be the perfect time to showcase it on the blog. If you're new to the blog, allow me to introduce myself as a guy who is not particularly crazy about overly sweet things. I used 2/3 cups of sugar for the pie filling, which to me was just right. Some people might prefer a whole cup fo sugar. My advice would be to give the filling a little taste before you pour it into your pie crust. If you would like it a little sweeter, add an additional third of a cup of sugar (brown or white, your choice).

I'm just going to go over the pie filling and the baking process. You can easily buy a premade pie crust from the store and use that. I made mine from scratch. Don't worry, very soon I am going to make a separate post on how to make a basic pie crust. It will be handy to make reference to when making other pastries in the future. Some pie crusts require "blind baking", where you bake the crust by itself to give it a head start. That is a handy trick when your filling takes less time to cook than the pastry (like a quiche or custard tart, for instance). You won't have to bother yourself with any of that in this recipe because the sweet potato filling takes pretty much the same amount of time to cook as the pastry. Let's get started!   


Ingredients

2 cups or 1 lb cooked sweet potato
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup white sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup of milk
2 eggs
1/2 tbsp of ground cinnamon
3 cloves, finely ground (or 1/2 tsp ground cloves)
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 small pinch of salt
1 9" unbaked pie crust
1 egg (not for the filling, this is for an egg wash for the pastry)


Preheat your oven to 350 F/175 C.

First we're going to need to cook our main ingredient: the sweet potato. You're going to need 2 cups of cooked sweet potato (1 lb should do the trick). Sweet potatoes, like yams, come in different sizes. I got these great narrow ones from the farmer's market. Anyway, boil them (skins on) in slightly salted water for 45 minutes. This will make them nice and soft.


 

Drain the cooked sweet potatoes. Allow them to cool until they are easy to handle. The skins will peel right off without putting up any fight. They will be so submissive you can use your bare fingers.




Place your peeled sweet potatoes in a bowl and mash them with a fork. Then add the butter, 2 eggs, sugar, milk, salt and spices. Add the vanilla extract last and stir to very well combine. 




Now prepare your pastry in the pie dish. If you bought your pie crust then everything is pretty much done for you. If you make your pastry from scratch, then you'll have the option of crimping the sides for presentation or leaving it level in the pie tin. That decision is all up to you. I made an attempt at crimping. It didn't turn out bad, but Michelin sure isn't handing out any stars to me over it. As much as I love to cook, I'm still an amateur so what can I say? lol. 


A little blurry. My bad.


Pour the pie filling in the middle of the pie tin. Give the tin a gentle shake to even the filling out and a few gentle taps to knock out any air bubbles.




I really recommend that you put your pie tin on the middle of a cooking sheet. It will make removing the hot pie from the oven a lot easier. Crack an egg into a ramekin or similar vessel and add a tbsp of water or two. Beat well and gently brush over any exposed pastry to ensure an inviting and attractive golden colour (that's called an "egg wash"). Place the pie in the middle of your preheated oven and let it cook for 1 hour or until an inserted knife or toothpick comes out clean. Allow the pie to cool for a good 20 minutes before slicing into it. The eggs in the pie filling will temporarily create a soufflé effect where the filling expands and puffs up but will deflate when it cools.


 

Well everyone, there you have it. Your very own Southern style sweet potato pie. This dessert simply screams autumn and will make a phenomenal addition to your upcoming Thanksgiving feast if you live in the United States. Regardless of where you live or where you're from I encourage you to give this a try. It's remarkably similar to pumpkin pie which is a favourite widely spread across North America. This blog has been heavily devoted to comfort food so this recipe fits right in.

Stay tuned! Very shortly I will be sharing a method passed down to me from my foodie aunt on how to make a failproof pie crust from scratch (like the one I used here). 

Keep cooking (what ever you do), be happy and stay fed,

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