Thursday, September 18, 2008

Recipe: Sweet Potato Pie

Much like the Brady Bunch influenced my lodging decisions in Hawaii, a host of 1970’s African American-based television sitcoms influenced my first venture into piedom (pausing for your laughter). I cannot count the times I heard the characters of various shows praise the promise of a sweet potato pie! Strange huh?

Mostly, it was out of odd curiosity. I remember thinking “ugh, how good can a pie made from potatoes be?” So, a number of years later that curiosity and wonder got the best of me and I decided to see for myself. I am here to tell you their praise was justified because sweet potato pie is (clap) DY-NA-MITE! Its flavor hovers somewhere in the area of pumpkin and squash pies, but in my opinion it offers subtle complex nuances and just a better overall taste.

I’m not the only one who thinks this either. The first pies I ever made were sweet potato pies, a few of these made their way to my parents home, and since then it has become a Thanksgiving tradition. My mom insists that I bring them, and it seems no one else objects either, especially my wife who insists I make a few for home as well. There’s nothing like a cool slice o’ sweet tater pie and some fresh whipped cream to top off a holiday meal.

Interestingly enough, during my various trips to Hawaii, I was introduced to a purple sweet potato. In the future I’d like to try making a pie from it. The idea of a purple dessert intrigues me (stay tuned). Anyway, there’s no secret to baking this masterpiece, if I had to add anything I’d offer that you should mash and whip the potatoes to a silky smoothness and also, after cooking, let the pies cure in the fridge overnight.

Sweet Potato Pie

1-1/4 lbs Sweet Potatoes (approx. 2)
1/2 stick unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
3/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 Tbs dark rum
1 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and roast them on a shallow baking pan in the middle of the oven until VERY tender. Allow to cool.

Increase the oven temperature to 400°F.

Remove the flesh from the sweet potatoes and thoroughly mash them until smooth.

Melt the butter in a small pan and slowly stir in the sugar.

When the sugar melts stir in vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, rum, salt and flour.

When thoroughly mixed add butter/spice combination, milk and eggs to mashed sweet potatoes. Mix well. Pour the mix into the pie shell.

Move pie into the oven and bake until the filling rises and just sets. Remove from oven and allow pie to cool before serving topped with whip cream.

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