Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Sweet Potato Pie Part 2 - the filling

Photobucket


I'll 'fess up, I've always had a bias against sweet potato pie. I hadn't even tasted it but I just preferred a good pumpkin pie. Then I married Mr. Maricucu and he would wax and wane about his granny's sweet potato pie, biscuits and how south florida sweet tea was not sweet tea (more on that another time). After questioning him on the pie for years I finally decided to morph some recipes and replicate his granny's pie. It was hard though since he swore up and down that sweet potato pie had no spices. Well then why did two prominent Georgians include spices in their pies? Aha! Gotcha.

I took the bones of Paula's recipe and used brown sugar, added the nutmeg from Alton's recipe plus an additional egg to give the custard more structure. Guess who was "mmhing"? while eating his piece? Guess authentic sweet potato pie does have spices. I'll admit as a nonfan of sweet potato pie it's pretty good. A bit heartier than pumpkin but still silky, sweet and fragrant.

Sweet Potato Pie
adapted from Paula Deen

2 cups sweet potatoes, cooked, peeled and mashed
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 stick butter, melted, 4 tablespoons
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground
1 cup heavy cream - I sometimes substitute evaporated milk or in a pinch whole milk.

First, the sweet potatoes. I roast a bunch at one time, mash them and keep them frozen in 2 cup portions just for this recipe. Makes it easy and you get authentic sweet potato taste. Just pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork and roast them on a baking sheet at 350 degrees until a fork slides in easily (usually 40-60 minutes). Then scoop them out and they mash virtually with no effort. Sometimes I'll slip in a little sweet potato puree into the sauce for my Bowties with Sausage Cream Sauce for a vitamin boost that only imparts a slight sweetness to the sauce.

Just think, with a few frozen pie crust discs and portions of already roasted/mashed sweet potatoes you can have this pie mixed and in the oven in under 20 minutes flat. Not bad huh? Dump your potatoes into the mixing bowl. I'm making two pies this time.

Photobucket


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. To the sweet potatoes add the brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix well.

Photobucket


Let me introduce you to my nutmeg grater. My mom gave it to me a couple of years ago and I smile every time I use it.

Photobucket


Aside from the grater, it has a little storage spot at the top for the current nutmeg in use. I've seen other types of graters too including this nutmeg mill but I find sometimes the original, simpler designs like these graters work best. There's nothing like fresh ground nutmeg in a cream sauce or this pie.

Photobucket


After all of the sugar is well mixed, add the eggs and mix well again. It helps to poke the yolk with your spatula so you don't chase around a dancing egg yolk in the mix.

Photobucket


Once the eggs are incorporated, mix in the melted butter. See, I'm getting a bit better about actual action shots without going all blurry.

Photobucket


Mmmmm, getting close but one more thing.

Photobucket


It wouldn't be a custard without the dairy. Cream is the first choice, but evaporated milk will work. Whole milk can work in a pinch, but the filling won't be as silky.

Photobucket


Now we have a custard. Smooth, enriched and fragrant with spices.

Photobucket


Take out the chilled pie crust you so lovingly crafted from the previous post. Mine was chilling in the freezer for exactly 1 hour and 8 minutes. That's exactly how long it took to nurse and settle the teething baby. It really doesn't matter, as long as the crust is chilled.

Photobucket


Pour in the smooth filling. This is when the magic happens. Gently place in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out slightly clean. No wet batter, but some moist pie on the knife is okay.

Photobucket


The filling puffs slightly but as it cools will settle down again. The crust browns and bubbles beautifully into flaky layers.

Photobucket


This is no shy pie. Right about now your house smells like heaven and your family members are likely stumbling into the kitchen and milling about the cooling pies. Shooo them away.

Photobucket


Allow to cool completely (much to my children's dismay) before cutting and serving. Look at the smooth, sweet filling and savory crust.

Photobucket

4 comments:

carrie said...

question for me is, have you tested out a good grit pie on him yet?

Marielle said...

Okay, let me have it because the mere mention of a grit pie has my mom salivating. Pretty please share the recipe?

carrie said...

here ya go darlin'

3/4 c water
1/8 t salt (i usually skip)
1/4 c grits
3/4 c sugar (raw makes it amazing)
2 T flour
3 eggs (slightly beaten)
1/4 c buttermilk
1 t vanilla
a pie crust of your choice

pre heat oven 325

boil water (and salt) add grits cooking for 4 min. stir.
add butter and let cook for a further min.
set aside.

stir sugar, flour, eggs, buttermilk, vanilla.

stir into grits slowly.

put into pie crust.

bake 35/40 min - until set.

enjoy! (fresh strawberries are the perfect contrast flavor on the plate)

Marielle said...

Oooo yum! Sounds like an amazing custard pie and I'll definitely be giving it a try. Thanks for sharing and my mom says to pass on her thanks too.