My mother and aunts were great cooks that never seldom if ever used a recipe. When I began to cook and bake it was a matter of watching them to learn technique. None of them were heavy into baking, but what they did bake, which was typically pies was excellent. We grew up with sweet potato pies, not pumpkin. And though they are a most have during the holidays, we’d eat them year round. Way back in the day when I used to cater I had to have a written recipe for everything. A little pinch of this and about a cup of that wouldn’t do. That’s when I finally came up with my sweet potato pie filling. This is the first time I’ve ever made sweet potato pies with a crust, from scratch.
My initial scratch crust attempts were disasters so I sought pie crust comfort in the premade tin pan variety. They weren’t very flavorful, but they never failed me. This go round I wanted a recipe that used butter instead of shortening and I chose one from Simply Recipes. The dough is mixed in the food processor, that was stomach knot number one. I’ve heard many horror stories about using the food processor to mix dough, but decided to give it a go anyway. Another knot in the stomach inducer was over handling the dough and trying to roll a perfect circle. That was alleviated by using a zippered pastry bag. All you do is lightly dust the inside with flour, put the disc of dough inside, zip the bag and roll away. It couldn’t have been easier or neater. I have two words for the whole pie crust experience, “Nailed It!!!”
2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 stick of butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ cup evaporated milk
¼ cup white sugar
Pastry Crust for 9 inch pie
Preheat oven to 400° F . In a food processor, combine the sweet potatoes, butter, eggs, brown sugar, salt, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg and evaporated milk. Blend until smooth. Pour into pie shell and bake at for 10 minutes. Reduce heat and bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until firm.
All Butter Crust for Sweet Pies (Pâte Brisée) from Elise Bauer Simply Recipes
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup – 2 sticks unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
6 to 8 Tbsp ice water
This is a double crust recipe and if your pie has a single crust, it’s no big deal. With so much baking to be done this time of year, it won’t be long before you use the other half.
Cut the sticks of butter into ½ -inch cubes and place in the freezer for 15 minutes to an hour (the longer the better) so that they become thoroughly chilled. Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 TBS at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together.
If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough doesn’t hold together, add a little more water and pulse again.
Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. Gently shape into 2 discs. Knead the dough just enough to form the discs, do not over-knead. You should be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These small chunks of butter are what will allow the resulting crust to be flaky. Sprinkle a little flour around the discs.
Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier. Unzip pie crust maker and lightly dust top and bottom halves with flour.
For a single crust place slightly flattened disk of dough in center of bag. Zip bag and roll dough gently and evenly from the center until the dough reaches the edges. Open bag and place pie plate upside down over rolled dough. Flip right side up, remove bag, and fit into pie plate. Trim and crimp edges. Tah Dah!
Note: I was so keyed up an anxious about this recipe that I forgot to take pictures of making the filling and the pies pre-baked. LOL!!!