RECIPE #109, DAY #133
ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Basic Piecrust” and “Melt in Your Mouth Sweet Potato Pie” from Mastering the Art of Southern Cooking, by Nathalie Dupree*
TIMING: 2 hours, not including cooling time. It can be broken into 1 hour and 1 hour
DIFFICULTY: Somewhere between easy and difficult
TOOLS: A pie plate, for starters. A stand mixer is helpful, as well as pie weights and a crust protector
COOK TYPE: Oven. Baking
HEALTH: It’s pie. But it’s vegetable pie. A sweet one.
EXPERIENCE: This is my first sweet potato pie. I was catering a Southern luncheon for 40, and I wanted sweet potato and pecan pies. During the process, I changed some things about the crust, including sweetening it. In the end, I decided that I didn’t like folding in the whipped egg whites. It might have lightened the pie filling, but the egg whites mostly just rose to the top and gave the pie a very ugly face. I’d rather stick to the traditional process and have a pretty, burnt-orange-colored pie that at least someone will be able to identify.
So this is a fine recipe for sweet potato pie. I think in the future, I will do better.
NOTES: You never want to use self-rising flour for a pie crust. Just in case that’s what you accidentally bought. 😉
I also really wonder if canned sweet potato puree wouldn’t work here. It might need another 1/4 cup granulated sugar.
Vodka is optional, but I think it makes a nicer dough.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour with 2 tablespoons powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Work in 1/4 cup cold, unsalted butter and 1/4 cup nonhydrogenated vegetable shortening. A pastry cutter or your fingers work well, but work fast.
- A tablespoon at a time, first add 1 tablespoon ice cold vodka, then ice cold water. You may need 6 tablespoons or so, but you only want to add until you have a non-sticky ball of dough.
- On a floured surface, press the ball out into a disk and smooth the edges. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 15 minutes to cool. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 375F.
- Back on your floured surface, unwrap your dough disk and flour it. Roll out until several inches bigger than a pie plate. Roll the sheet of dough up on to the rolling pin, then unroll it over a pie plate. Gently press it into the corners, then crimp and trim the crust. Now, let it rest for 15 minutes in the freezer.
- Fill the dough with a layer of pie weights (or dried beans which you keep specifically for this purpose. Bake for 15 minutes.
- While crust is baking, whisk 1 egg with 1 tablespoon water. After the 15 minutes, remove the pie weights and brush the crust with the egg wash. Return to the oven for 8 minutes. Set crust aside and cool. When ready, continue with recipe.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Drain a 15 oz can sweet potatoes and puree until smooth. Set aside.
- Beat 3 eggs in a stand mixer until pale and ribbony. Add the sweet potatoes. Then, add 3/4 cup brown sugar (dark, if you have it), 1/2 cup room temperature butter, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon clove, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Mix on medium-high for 4 minutes.
- Add 1 1/2 cups cream (or evaporated milk) and mix just until combined.
- Set you pie plate and crust on a rimmed baking sheet (to avoid spillage). Pour the filling into the crust. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F and bake another 45 minutes. Test done-ness with a toothpick.
Serve with whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream and plenty of coffee.
*Recipe changed from the original.