As the dessert for our soul food dinner, Selena suggested we bake a sweet potato pie. This is like pumpkin pie, but made with sweet potato. Of course we made the pastry crust from scratch, using the new method that guarantees a flaky crust (but with the regular amount of butter). The flavor of the sweet potato custard turned out great, with just the right amount of spice and sweetness. The color was a bit too dark because I only had dark brown sugar; with regular brown sugar the color will be better. It is not strictly necessary to blind bake the crust first, but you should if you want to get a crunchy bottom. Here is what we did…
For a 27 cm (11″) pie, serves (at least) 8
900 grams (2 lbs) sweet potatoes
110 grams (1/2 stick) butter, softened
50 grams (1/4 cup) sugar
150 grams (3/4 cup) brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp salt
180 ml (3/4 cup) evaporated milk (in Dutch: koffiemelk)
For the pie crust
200 grams (1 1/4 cup) pastry flour
100 grams (7 Tbsp) cold butter
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
45 ml (3 Tbsp) cold water
Put about two thirds of the flour (130 grams) in the food processor with a tablespoon of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt, and pulse a few times until mixed.
Add all of the cold butter (110 grams), cut into cubes.
Process until the dough has come together (this will take a while; first it will look like coarse sand, but keep going).
Flatten the dough with a spatula.
Sprinkle the remaining flour (70 grams) on top.
Pulse a couple of times to get small clumps of dough that are covered with flour.
Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with 45 ml (3 Tbsp) of cold water.
Fold in the water with a spatula until the dough comes together.
Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for at least half an hour.
In the meantime, peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into chunks or slices. Put the sweet potato in a pot and cover with water.
Bring to a boil and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain the sweet potato and allow to cool.
Butter a 27 cm (11″) pie shape. When the dough has rested, roll it out on a floured work surface and line the pie shape with it. Prick the dough all over with a fork.
If you like, blind bake it for 15 minutes at 190C/375F with pie weights, and for 5 minutes without. This will prevent a soggy bottom.
To make the filling, put the sweet potato in the bowl of the food processor together with 2 eggs, 50 grams sugar, 150 grams brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 1/8 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg, 1/8 tsp ground allspice, 180 ml evaporated milk, and 110 grams softened butter. There is no need to add the ingredients in any specific order, as the food processor will mix them regardless.
Process until smooth and homogeneous.
Pour the filling into the prepared pie shell.
Bake at 180C/350F (not fan forced) until the center of the pie is firm, about 1 hour.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Because of the spices and earthiness (low acidity), this is great with a late harvest (vendanges tardives) gewurztraminer from Alsace or a gewurztraminer passito from Italy.
With fresh squid and some tricks (including the use of vodka), deep fried calamari can be a crispy culinary delight rather than a greasy rubber band. Of course it should be served with homemade aioli.