Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sweet Potato Pie?

I know, I was skeptical, too.  Or maybe you already know about sweet potato pie, and you're not skeptical at all, I don't know.  Truthfully, I thought this was something that only people in the South ate, and not once had I considered trying it (not that there are that many opportunities up here in the North, anyway!).  But then, in the course of 24 hours, I ran into about half a dozen recipes for sweet potato pie, and all of a sudden, my curiosity has been piqued.  After reading through several recipes, I decided on Joy's from Joy the Baker.  She was just so darn enthusiastic, I simply couldn't say no.  And it's still storming here, so with another day off on my hands, I clearly had to do something! 

The filling takes a little while from start to finish (somewhere in the neighborhood of two hours, perhaps, when you factor in cooling).  However, it can be made ahead of time and refrigerated until you're ready to bake the pie, which makes it convenient, too.  Joy makes the pie with a "no roll" crust, but I actually find that with a food processor, regular pie crust is faster to make, and rolling dough isn't that hard.  But really, this pie is all about the filling, and let me just say, Wow.  I definitely had a case of the wandering finger syndrome as I whisked the filling together (at least before I added the eggs!)  

As it baked the kitchen smelled divine,  and when it was finally baked and cool enough to eat, it not only met expectations, it surpassed them.  The filling is very similar to that of pumpkin pie, but its texture was slightly smoother, and flavor just a bit sweeter, just a little better, at least to my palate.  And I'm no pumpkin pie hater, but I truly think the sweet potato is just that much better.  Which is, needless to say, an exciting discovery.  The only thing I think I will try next time (and there will definitely be a next time), I will use just touch more spice (heaping spoons of the quantities listed below, not exact), and a touch less sugar (scant cups of the amounts listed below).  If you try this, and let me know what you think!

Sweet Potato Pie (Adapted only very slightly from Joy The Baker)
Makes one 9 or 10 inch pie

The filling is for a 10-inch pie, if you make a 9-inch on pie, you'll have a little filling leftover.  Still figuring out what to do with it...

* 2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes (2 large sweet potatoes)
* 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
* 1 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
* 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1/8 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
* 1 12-oz can of evaporated milk, (or 2 5-oz cans)

* 1/2 cup granulated sugar * 3 large eggs
* 1 Tablespoon vanilla

1. Boil two whole large sweet potatoes in their jackets in a covered pot over moderate flame, until sweet potatoes are very soft and tender.  To test the done-ness, poke them with a sharp knife; there should be no resistance at all.  When the potatoes are done, remove them from the water and cool on a plate or wire cooling rack.

2. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off their skins (this should be very easy, just pull it off with your fingers) and mash potatoes thoroughly with a potato masher or an electric mixer until they are totally smooth--no lumps!

3. Measure 2 cups of mashed potato into a medium sized pot, and add the brown sugar, spices, salt, butter, and half the can of evaporated milk (or one of the small cans, if that's what you're using).  Heat on low for about 5 minutes, whipping with a wire whisk until butter is melted and mixture smooth and well combined.  Remove from fire and let cool in pot. 

4. In a large bowl (I just used the same one that I mashed the potatoes in), beat the three eggs with a fork. Add the second half/second 5-oz can of evaporated milk, granulated sugar and vanilla to the eggs and continue beating until creamy. Pour the cooled sweet potato mixture from pot into the egg mixture, and blend thoroughly with a whisk or the electric mixer.  Refrigerate mixture overnight or use immediately.  

5.  When you're ready to make your pie, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F with a cookie sheet inside.  
6. Meanwhile, prepare your crust (see instructions below, or use a frozen pie crust) and keep in the freezer until the oven is hot.  When the oven is ready, remove your crust from the freezer, and fill it nearly to the top.  Place the pie on the hot cookie sheet, and bake  at 450 for ten minutes then turn oven to 325 degrees F (300 with the convection fan turned on) and bake for 1 hour more, or until edges and center are raised and puffed and the center only shakes slightly.  

7. Remove from oven.  Let cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour before serving.  Can be served warm or at room temperature.

Hot out of the oven and all ready to go to the potluck!

Single Crust for a 9 or 10 inch pie (Adapted from Martha Stewart)

* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
* Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/2  teaspoon sugar
* 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
* 2-4 Tablespoons of ice water  

1. Dice cold butter into small cubes, and stick in the freezer for at least 15 minutes, to make them very cold and hard

2. In the bowl of a food processor, add flour, salt, and sugar, pulse a few times to combine. 

3. Add butter, and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal, 8 to 10 seconds. 

4. With machine running, add ice water in a slow, steady stream through feed tube. Pulse until dough holds together without being wet or sticky; be careful not to process more than 30 seconds. The dough won't come together in the bowl, but to test to see if there's enough water, squeeze a small amount together: If it is crumbly, add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time

5. Turn the dough out onto a piece of saran wrap.  Corral the dough, using the plastic to press it together into a ball, then flatten in into a disc.  Use the plastic to wrap your disc of dough, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  (Dough may be frozen for up to 1 month, too)

6. To roll the dough, lightly flour a rolling surface and your rolling pin, or place dough between two sheets of wax paper.  Start rolling from the center, and rotate the dough often to create an even circle.  Roll to about 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick, and until it reaches the correct diameter (2 inches bigger all around than the inverted pie pan).  Place your pie pan (ungreased--plenty of butter in there already!) right next to the dough, and gently lift it into the pan and center.

7. Trim any overhang that's too long, and use it to patch spots, if necessary.  Fold the overhanging dough  towards the center of the dish, and pinch the edge all the way around to create a lip.

Okay, well it's not as beautiful as the ones Martha likely makes, but hey, it will do!

1 comment:

  1. i'm so impressed! you pie came out absolutely beautiful! perfect! and i can't tell you how happy i am to read your thoughts on it. totally made my day!