Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sweet Potato Pie

(one 9 inch pie)

For quite some time I have been intrigued by the Cook's Illustrated "Foolproof" Pie Crust, however I have an aversion to making them, so I've been hitting the refrigerated section at the market and grabbing ready made pie crusts despite my better intentions. Today was different. I thought I had one in my refrigerator, but I was mistaken. It's unseasonably cold here in Dallas, and I was reluctant to leave my toasty home just for one item. I had everything I needed right here to make one, so I took the plunge. Hands down, this was the best pie crust I've ever had. It was buttery and flaky and easier (and quicker) to make than I had imagined.

I used regular flour (I was reluctant to experiment on a holiday), but I might try this pie crust recipe again using gluten free flour. I imagine it should work quite well as part of the premise that makes this particular crust successful is the addition of vodka which both inhibits the formation of gluten as well as produces a flakier crust because the alcohol evaporates during baking.

Sweet potato pie is a southern specialty, and in all honesty I prefer it to pumpkin pie. I like adding bourbon to mine, but you can leave that out if you prefer, either way, this pie is delicious!

Happy Thanksgiving!

1 unbaked pie crust, (Cook's Illustrated recipe using vodka)

2 large sweet potatoes, baked and cooled (about 2 1/2 lbs)
*2/3 cup sucanat or brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tbsp bourbon (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg
2/3 cup heavy cream

Line a pie dish with the dough and refrigerate while you make the filling.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Scoop out the flesh from the sweet potatoes; you should have about 3 cups. Place into the bowl of a large food processor. Add the sucanat, eggs, bourbon, if using and spices. Pulse a few times until everything is combined. *Add an extra 1/3 cup of sucanat or brown sugar if you prefer your desserts on the sweet side. This is pretty subjective because personally I think 2/3 cup is perfect. :P

Leave the motor running and pour the cream down the chute. Stop when the cream is combined and you have a smooth thick mixture.

                                   Look at that beautiful flaky crust!

Spoon the filling into the refrigerated pie shell and bake at 400°F. for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350° F. and continue baking another 35-50 minutes or until the filling is firm and the pie crust is a golden brown. I use a small counter top convection type oven, you might have to adjust the baking times a bit as I imagine my oven might be faster.

Remove from oven and cool. The filling will have puffed up a bit during baking and will shrink back down as it cools.

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