Making Sweet Potato Pie

Do you believe pie can expand consciousness? You might after a couple slices of sweet potato pie. It has a creamy, earthy sweetness…and an almost infinite ability to please and comfort. Done right, it’ll change a person. Oh yeah.

Begin yours by assembling your ingredients including your shaped and pre-baked pie shell. Or you can use a store-bought pie shell in a pinch. Peel and cut up about two pounds of sweet potatoes, place them in the steamer insert of a saucepan and steam until they are falling-apart soft. Half an hour to 45 minutes.

Some sweet potatoes have natural pigments in them that can range from brown to black. Don’t worry if yours take on a little color in the steamer. It’s all part of the grand sweet potato pie experience.

Put the sweet potatoes in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle and beat them until they’re completely and evenly mashed. If you find lumps in the mixture after a few minutes of mashing, pass the whole mess through a food mill or process it in a food processor until it’s completely smooth.

You want 1 1/2 to 2 cups of mashed sweet potato for the pie. To that add your sugar and very soft (or melted) butter.

Beat all that together, then add your eggs one at a time and beat them in for about 20 seconds each.

Add the vanilla and spices. Huh…nothing’s pouring in this shot. Dang. I hate that.

Anyway, once your pie shell is ready, sprinkle on the brown sugar.

Add the filling. It’ll look a little shaggy probably. But hey, this is a rustic pie. You want some of that.

Put on a pie shield and bake 40-50 minutes until the pie no longer sloshes in the middle when you move it, but rather jiggles and domes slightly in the center.

About like so.

Let it cool for at least a couple of hours before you serve it. You can add whipped cream to the top, but…why?

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9 Responses to Making Sweet Potato Pie

  1. Melody says:

    Looks good Joe, looks very good and it looks tempting.. i must say. hmmmmmm :)

    Melody

  2. Andrew says:

    This looks wonderful. Some day, I hope my single-crust pies look this good :)

    • joepastry says:

      I was thinking that this one was looking a little rough around the edges so to speak, but then this is a rustic pie. They keys to pie crust are these:

      - Don’t freak out over moisture, add what you need to make the dough roll-able without too much cracking
      - Don’t feel like you have to roll it cold, let it warm up if you’ve refrigerated it, again so it rolls easily
      - Let it lay around a while…a good hour any time you manipulate it
      - Pre-bake it until it’s barely browned if at all
      - Protect the outer crust at all times with a pie shield

      And that, as they say, is pretty much that. And there’s nothing wrong with your crusts!

      - Joe

  3. Ted says:

    ::insert puzzled expression on face here::

    But…how is this different to pumpkin pie? (Except for the obvious sweet potato vs pumpkin, I mean.)

    • joepastry says:

      Hehe…well that’s pretty much it. A lot of people confuse the two. However the idea is to taste the sweet potato, so these pies should go easy on the spices. They’re also generally not as rich, they tend not to employ cream like a lot of pumpkin pies do.

      That’s about it! Cheers,

      - Joe

  4. Chuck says:

    Perfect timing Joe!
    I came back to review your SPPie recipe and found this post.
    I just steamed, (actually in a steamer basket in my Mom’s pressure cooker that she used when I was a kid), my potatoes and am ready to get a bit ahead for T day. I hear steaming is preferable.
    Then some double bake sweet potatoes, with honeyed almond garnish, and then an apple crisp.
    I need a recipe for apple crisp now. Happen to have one ? :C)

  5. RS says:

    Hey Joe,
    Why do you put brown sugar in the pie crust under the filling? My mom’s pie crust always gets a little soggy when she makes a sweet potato pie–would the sugar help with that?

    • joepastry says:

      Hi Remy!

      The sugar just rounds the flavor out and provides a little extra sweetness without darkening the filling too much. It isn’t absorbent. If your mom is seeing moisture on the bottom of the pie it’s likely because the custard is breaking to some extent. Make sure she only bakes it to the point that it doesn’t slosh when she pushes the pan a bit. It should jiggle and be slightly domed. If she waits for the clean-knife test then odds are it’s going to be overdone by the time it cools.

      Have a great holiday!

      - Joe

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