Sweet Potato Pie, Not The Casserole
There are many great dishes that you can serve at your Thanksgiving feast, and certainly desert is one of them. Sweet potatoes are a frequent guest on Thanksgiving, but they are often relegated to a lowly casserole dish. I’m sorry, but marshmallows that don’t include a camp fire aren’t my thing. Try this sweet potato pie recipe to promote your sweet potatoes to a more deserving role. Plus, I personally believe that sweet potato pie beats pumpkin pie every time.
Sweet Potato vs Pumpkin
Sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie are definitely similar. However, sweet potato pie generally thought of as a southern desert. Pumpkin gained it’s prominence in the north. Pumpkin is denser, while sweet potatoes have more texture. Sweet potato pie is lighter, and more airy. Sweet potatoes provide a better mouth feel. Pumpkin pie is overrated, and over done. There, I said it. So sue me.
Ingredients for Sweet Potato Pie
This pie consists of nothing more than sweet potatoes, custard and what some folks call “fall flavors”:
- Sweet Potatoes
- “Fall” Spices
- Lemon Juice
There is a lot of debate about this. Do you blind bake the crust or not? Since this is a custard based pie, I believe we should blind bake the crust. This involves partially pre-baking the crust to prevent it from becoming soggy. You will need some pie weights to keep the pie from puffing up during baking. But, you don’t need to invest in anything more than some dried beans (2 pounds should do the trick). They work just as well. Also, please use a Pyrex or ceramic dish. If you use the tin that the crust comes in, you risk a burned pie. This is a quick process, but it bears careful watching. By the way, I am using a frozen store bought crust. I think they are just as good, and a lot less time consuming. But, if you like, feel free to make your own crust.
How to Make This Sweet Potato Pie Recipe
The essence of a good sweet potato pie lies in baking the sweet potatoes. This will concentrate the flavors. Boiling or steaming the potatoes will cause them to absorb a lot of water. Then you have bland, water logged potatoes. Go with baking them. It’s well worth it. Let them cool, and you can store them overnight, if making the pie the next day. Using canned milk is not only a southern touch, but it adds sweetness and density to your pie. The final important step involves cooling the pie. It needs a good long rest after it’s hot journey in the oven. Cool it to room temperature at least, but overnight is better.
Storing Your Pie
You can make this pie, and freeze it prior to cooking. It will last two months. A cooked pie will keep in the fridge for up to four days. My guess is that it won’t last that long. At my house, it would be eaten long before that!
Sweet Potato Pie Recipe
- 2 Large Sweet Potatoes (2 Pounds)
- 1 9 Inch Frozen Pie Shell
- 3/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
- 1 Pinch Salt
- 2 Large Eggs, Beaten
- 1 1/2 Cups Evaporated Milk (12 Ounces)
- 1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
- 2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
- Pre-heat oven to 375°. Wash and dry the sweet potatoes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the potatoes on the baking sheet, and bake for One hour, or until tender. Remove from the heat, and thoroughly cool. You can do this a day prior to making the pie.
- Follow the package directions for thawing the crust.
- Lightly flour a countertop or board. Gently remove the crust from the tin it comes in. Lightly flour the crust, and roll it out to remove the fluting, and to fit your pie dish (a nine inch dish works very well). Transfer the crust to the pie plate. Line the crust with parchment paper, making sure it covers the side of the dough. Weigh the crust down with pie weights or dried beans, making sure the weights are against the sides of the dough. Place the pie crust on a sheet pan and bake at 375°, until the edges are just lightly brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Remove the crust from the oven, and lift the parchment paper with the weights out of the crust. Transfer the weights or beans to a bowl to cool. Return the crust to the oven. Bake an additional 2 to 3 minutes, or until the bottom of the dough starts to look dry. Remove the crust from the oven.
- Scoop the flesh from your sweet potatoes, and place the flesh in a food processor with the blade attachment. Puree the potatoes until smooth.
- Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, vanilla extract, eggs, milk and lemon juice to the potatoes. Pulse to combine.
- Pour the filling into the crust so that it comes to the top of the crust, but be careful not to overfill the crust.
- Bake at 375° until the pie is set, about 35 to 45 minutes. It should have some give when nudged, but not overly so. To test for doneness, insert a knife into the pie. The knife should come out damp, but clean. Cool the pie completely before serving, preferably 24 hours, but at least four hours.