AndyTalk: A Sweet Potato Pie Primer
Today in AndyTalk, Chef Andy Broder offers up a Sweet Potato Pie primer.
Thanksgiving is to pie-making what Christmas is to church. If you're going to partake just once a year, it's a pretty safe bet when that will be. (Unless it's for our Pie Social this Saturday!)
Let's talk about sweet potato pie.
I made my first sweet potato pie on a whim. I wanted something sweet, I was too lazy to go out, and I had sweet potatoes sitting around with no sense of purpose. Since then, sweet potatoes have been one of my favorite pie ingredients. Pies that combine sweet potatoes with apples, pears cranberries, and pumpkin have contributed to the satisfaction of my very sizeable sweet tooth. Making a Sweet Potato Pie is a good primer on how to make a good pie.
Learn how after the jump.
Sweet potatoes have a number of innate qualities that make them wonderfully pie-worthy. They have an abundance of natural sugar, which, although not essential, is good for starters. When baked, the sugar in the sweet potatoes caramelizes, becoming deeper, richer, and more complex (the way caramel is richer and more complex than granulated sugar). I always bake the sweet potatoes before I make pie. I often bake them a day ahead, since it's easier to peel them when they're cold. I never use bland, mushy, canned yams.
Soggy crust is a common flaw, caused in great part because pie fillings are often wet. Sweet potatoes have a great capacity to thicken their companion ingredients, so the filling clings to itself instead of seeping into the crust. When I make a fruit pie sans sweet potato I often add a half a cup of shortbread cookie crumbs to thicken the inevitable juices. Pecan Sandies and Lorna Dunes are an apple pie's best friends. The crumbs absorb the juices, as they dissolve into a buttery goo that adds a bit of structure to the pie.
AndyFood Sweet Potato Pie
- 1 pie crust (last week's AndyTalk post)
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 eggs
- 1 can sweetened condensed milk (10 1/2 ounces)
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, baked until tender, cooled and peeled, skins discarded
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- Preheat oven to 350 °F.
- Roll out crust and line a 9-inch pie dish.
- Beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Add sweetened condensed milk and beat until mixture is smooth.
- Add sweet potatoes, allspice, nutmeg, and ground ginger and beat until the mixture is smooth and uniform.
- Pour filling into the prepared crust.
- Bake in preheated oven until the crust is golden brown, and the filling is set, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Cool on a rack for at least an hour before serving.
Andy Broder is the chef/owner of AndyFood, A Culinary Studio.
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