Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sweet Potato pie

I'm always in charge of desserts on Thanksgiving in my family. Last week, I asked my mom to get some ingredients for a sweet potato pie, and she was utterly shocked because my dad had been talking about making sweet potato pie, too. (This is shocking because we usually go with apple or pumpkin in my family. I don't think we've ever had sweet potato pie.) He even got a recipe from one of his coworkers in the bakery department (my dad works at Whole Foods).

So there you go. Sweet potato pie it is.

I used the recipe my dad gave me -- which is a printout, but I have no idea where it came from. They were using it at Whole Foods, though, and it looked fairly accurate, judging from how my pumpkin pie normally goes. The only thing I changed was that I took out the shot of brandy in the recipe.

The recipe called for 1 1/2 cups of sweet potato, and I think 3 medium sweet potatoes were plenty.

Yes, I'm using a potato masher. Call me a traditionalist.

Because I am impatient, I actually mashed the potatoes while they were still hot. So, while those were cooling, I rolled out a pie crust dough that I prepared earlier.

I think I've already told you all this trick before, but a good way to transfer the crust into the pie plate is to wrap it loosely around the rolling pin, and then lift, and unroll it on top of the pie plate.

Trim and scallop the edges, and then pop that back in the fridge while you prepare the rest of the filling. (If you're so inclined, save the scraps of dough, and roll them out again. Cut out shapes to put on top of the pie! Makes an otherwise uninteresting-looking pie more fun. Don't forget to chill those cutouts, too.)

By now, the potatoes should be cool enough, and the recipe is super easy. (Also, the recipe calls for an electric beater, but it came out just fine whisking by hand. Yep, me = traditionalist. Or lazy. I hate getting out the beater and washing the pieces.)

Pour out the filling and place the cutouts on top as you like.

This pie could not have been accomplished without my dad (who gave me the recipe) and my mom (who made the leaf cutouts). I have little talent for such things, but my mom used to be an art major. If it were me, I would have used a cookie cutter or something (regardless of whether or not we had any leaf cookie cutters - if it were up to me, we'd probably have had little Christmas trees on top). Anyway. At the end of the day, you get something like this:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Pie Crust

Recipe adapted from (Jan Bittner)

½ cup vegetable shortening
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
½ cup cold water

Mix shortening, flour, sugar, and salt together with a fork or a pastry blender until very crumbly. Add water a tablespoon at a time and mix lightly with a fork. Only add just enough until the dough starts to hold together (you probably will not need the entire half cup).

Butter a pie plate. Roll gently on a floured pastry cloth to about an inch larger than pie plate.

Roll dough carefully onto rolling pin, lift to pie plate, and unroll. Press into pan. For a single-crust pie, trim with a small knife to about 1/2 inch beyond rim. Fold up, and pinch so edge of pie is raised from rim.

Servings: 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Difficulty: Medium

Sweet Potato Pie

Recipe courtesy Whole Foods(?), adapted by me

1½ cups firmly packed mashed cooked sweet potatoes, room temperature
3 eggs, room temperature
½ cup white sugar
1/3 cup milk, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt

Prepare pie pan, and place in refrigerator, covered in plastic wrap, while preparing the filling. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place mashed sweet potatoes in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the sugar, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Beat until well blended.

Pour the filling into the pie shell (and, if you have them, arrange any pastry cutouts on top). Set the pan on a baking sheet.

Bake on the bottom oven rack until a knife inserted 1 inch into the center comes out clean, about 50-60 minutes. If the pie crust browns too quickly, loosely drape some aluminum foil over it. Do not overbake.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Servings: 8
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50-60 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

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