Sweet Potato Pie

I made this sweet potato pie when I was home in Texas for Thanksgiving. My week was not jam-packed with food, but I certainly ate well and I almost always had room for dessert. Afterwards I’d flop down on my bed, maybe take a nap, and gear up for the next round.  I’ve come to realize that my life completely revolves around food.  My mom says that even as a kid, I’d start inquiring about my next meal as soon as I’d finished the current one.  Apparently other people’s mothers have noticed this as well:

Guilty as charged.

This sweet potato pie was definitely something I couldn’t stop thinking about during meals, between meals, before I went to bed, as soon as I woke up. I mean, first, there was the fact that I’d made a pie from scratch, which I was giddy about because I don’t make pies often. Rolling out pie dough intimidates me. But the beauty of this recipe is that you can simply press the dough into the pie plate – no rolling, no transferring to the plate, no crimping. Totally easy.

And did I mention that the crust also tastes like a buttery cookie?  No?  Okay, well just know this: you’re going to want to pick up any pieces that crumble each time you cut a slice of pie and pop them in your mouth.  Trust me on this.  I’m definitely a person who prefers pie filling over pie crust, but this stuff is good.

Then, of course, there was the undeniable truth that this pie is just fantastic. It’s thick and creamy and manages to be rich without ever seeming heavy.  It’s undoubtedly reminiscent of pumpkin pie, but is a nice subtle change if you want to switch things up a bit.  And hey, it contains two cups of sweet potato so you’re getting a ton of vitamins and fiber!  Who says dessert can’t be good for you?

Sweet Potato Pie

Adapted from Joy the Baker

Makes one 9-inch (will have extra filling) or 10-inch pie

*The No-Roll Pie Crust recipe is only for a 9-inch pie.

Note:  I think the easiest way to make this pie, in terms of order of tasks, is to assemble the crust first and stick it in the freezer, then make the filling.  One the filling’s done and the oven is heated, remove the crust from the freezer and fill it up.

1 No-Roll Pie Crust (recipe below)

2 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes (about 2 medium sweet potatoes)

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted

2 5-oz. cans evaporated milk

3 eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

Boil sweet potatoes in their skin in a pot until very soft and tender.  If you prick it with a fork or knife, there should be no resistance.  (Alternatively, you could microwave the sweet potatoes.)  Remove potatoes from water and let cool.

When potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel off the skin.  Place potatoes in a medium bowl and mash thoroughly with a fork or potato masher.  Get all the lumps out.

In a medium pot, combine 2 cups of mashed sweet potato, brown sugar, spices, salt, butter, and one 5-oz. can of evaporated milk.  Cook on low heat for 5 minutes, constantly stirring with a whisk until the mixture is well-blended and smooth.  Once it starts to bubble, remove from heat and let cool.

In medium bowl, beat the eggs.  Add the second 5-oz. can of evaporated milk, granulated sugar, and vanilla, and beat to thoroughly combine.  Pour egg mixture into pot of cooled sweet potato mixture and whisk to blend.

Heat oven to 450 degrees F with a cookie sheet inside.  Place prepared pie crust in freezer while oven is preheating.  Once oven is heated, remove crust from freezer and add sweet potato filling until almost full.  Place pie on the cookie sheet in the oven and bake at 450 degrees F for ten minutes.  Turn oven down to 325 degrees F and bake for 1 more hour, or until edges and center are raised and puffed, and the center only shakes slightly.

Remove from oven.  Let cool 1 hour before serving.

No-Roll Pie Crust

Makes one 9-inch pie crust

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar

1/8 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) frozen butter, grated on a cheese grater

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 tablespoon cream cheese, at room temperature

2 tablespoons cold milk

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.

Add frozen grated butter and cream cheese.  Using your fingers, work the butter and cream cheese into the flour mixture, breaking up the butter and cream cheese until they’re well-incorporated into the flour.  The pieces of butter will range from tiny to the size of small pebbles.

Whisk together milk and oil, then add all at once to the flour mixture.  Use a fork to combine the ingredients, making sure that the liquid comes into contact with all of the flour mixture.  Dump the dough (it will not come into a ball and will still be shaggy) onto a pie plate.  Use your fingers to press the dough evenly into the bottom of the pie plate and up the sides.

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