Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rustic Sweet Potato Pie

Ingredients for the crust:
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup vegetable shortening or cold, unsalted butter
1/4 cups ice water, or as needed

* * * * * *

Preparing the filling:
2 large sweet potatoes (about 1.5 lbs total), peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 T melted butter
pecan halves, for decoration

Preparing the pie:
In a food processor, pulse together all the dry ingredients and the butter into short bursts until the mixture forms pea-sized lumps. Add the water through the feed tube as you pulse until the mixture forms a stiff dough and pulls away from the sides of the food processor bowl. Form the dough into a 6-inch disk and wrap it in plastic; chill for one hour. The dough can be made in advance. It can be kept refrigerated for several days and even frozen.

When ready to make the pie, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Roll the chilled pie dough into a 12-inch round and press into a 9-inch pie pan. Flute the edges. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the crust is set and beginning to brown slightly. Remove the pie pan from the oven and let it cool.

Put the sweet potatoes into a medium pot and cover them with water by an inch. Bring to a boil. Boil slowly until the potatoes are tender with no absolutely no resistance at the center when pieced with a fork.

Drain off the water and mash the potatoes with a potato masher. Do not use a potato ricer or food processor.

As you mash the potatoes, add the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg; then whisk in the eggs, milk, and vanilla. The butter goes in last.

Once the filling is well-mixed, pour it into the baked pie crust. Arrange pecan halves around the outside edges and sprinkle the top of the pie with more ground cinnamon. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the filling is set and the edges of the crust have browned.

Serve the pie warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


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