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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ginger Sweet Potato Pie

We're on the dessert task force for tomorrow's Thanksgiving celebration, and we need something sweet for Friday's Vegetarian Thanksgiving, AND I needed something for today's ESL potluck. What to make? Sweet Potato Pie! We realized that we'd been hoarding CSA sweet potatoes for weeks and had just enough to make three pies.

This being our first attempt at a sweet potato pie, we needed to reference an expert. We found an Alton Brown recipe and used it as a skeleton, adding our own flavors and unique techniques to make it our own.

Darcy served the first of the three today at school, and her awesomely fantastic (and sweet) students ate it up! Each of them reacted well, which was a true compliment, given their diverse backgrounds and palettes. They even took extras home for their moms, so that they too could experience this Southern iconic dessert for the first time.

Here's what we did to make three pies:
roughly 3.5-4 lbs. of sweet potatoes
One 12 oz can of evaporated milk
3 cups of homemade yogurt (or store bought))
15 egg yolks
2.25 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1.5 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. freshly grated ginger (or more or less to your can eliminate this if you don't like ginger)
3-5 Tbs. maple syrup (depending on your preferences)
3 cups of crushed pecans
3-5 Tbs. brown sugar


3 pre-made 9-inch pie crusts (Willy  Street Co-op sells excellent local crusts)...or try our recipe 

1. Drizzle olive oil on cookie sheet or roasting pan. Cut sweet potatoes in half, lengthwise. Sprinkle each sweet potato with a pinch of sugar. Place sugar side down onto the cookie sheet.
  • The key to a perfectly roasted sweet potato is NOT to pre-heat the oven. 
  • Start roasting sweet potatoes in a cold oven. This will caramelize and accentuate the sugars, making for sweeter sweet potatoes.  
  • We added the sugar on the bottom of the sweet potatoes. The tubers gladly accepted this addition and tasted ... How do you say?... Delicious! 
2. Roast at 375ish until potatoes are fork tender (depending on the size, anywhere from 30-50 minutes).
3. Remove from oven. Once potatoes are cool, remove skins. We found this was easily done by pinching the potatoes with our fingers. The flesh oozed out, leaving the skins behind.
4. Mash the sweet potatoes well.
5. Blend in the yogurt and evaporated milk, the dark sugar, the spices, the ginger, and the egg yolks.
6. Pour into crusts.
7. Sprinkle pecans on pies. Then, sprinkle brown sugar on the pecans. And finally drizzle with the maple syrup...yum! You can use as much or as little as you want for each of these. Personally, we go ALL OUT here. It is already fattening, why not?
8. Bake in a pre-heated oven - 350 degrees - for 50-55 minutes. Ours baked significantly longer (nearly 90 minutes) due to baking three at a time. Good indicators that your pies are ready are that the pies are solid, don't jiggle, and when a knife is inserted into the center, it comes out 90%-100% clean.
9. Cool and then refrigerate.
10. Whip up some organic, locally-produced, humanely-received (be kind to the four-legged creatures, especially on the holidays!) heavy cream to top off each slice of goodness.

ENJOY! Feed back is encouraged and appreciated!
Happy Thanksgiving!

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