According to me, you get total pie street credit if you’re from the South. If you have an accent and hail from any of the states below Ohio, I automatically assume that you are harboring your Great Grandma’s family pie recipe and that you know some worldly secrets about great pie making. After all, don’t you Southerners learn to make pie just after you learn to pour yourself a bowl of cereal? But alas, this is just a dream as I have never been to the Deep South and therefore never had the chance to taste what real southern pie is all about.
Like the saying goes, if you can’t go South, go to Whole Foods! I have never tasted sweet potato pie and have always been drawn to the sheer comfort of the idea. With Greater Cleveland being slim on the pickings for pie, I figured Whole Foods was my best bet for one that would at least be close to the real thing. And there they were! Displayed with a photograph of a lovely employee whose recipe was so good that Whole Foods adopted it for their stores in the Midwest. Jackpot! I enjoyed this sweet potato pie, but the crust was very soft and mushy making the dish taste more like pudding – no texture combination of the snap of a crisp crust followed by the smooth, creamy filling. So once again, I set out to do better. And I did. This pie puts the OH! in sweet potato.
Sweet Potato Pie
1 recipe pie dough of choice for a 9 inch crust (I use Best of Both Worlds)
2 cups mashed sweet potatoes (about 2-3)
4T butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder (optional if you don’t have any)
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
Ahead of time: make dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to two days
Roll dough into a 13 inch circle and place into a 9 inch pie plate. You will want to leave a one-inch over hang by cutting the dough to even it out. Tuck edges under and sculpt an upstanding ridge if desired.
Refrigerate the crust for at least 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400.
Partially bake the crust and cool completely. For details on blind baking a crust, see this caramel pumpkin pie post.
While crust is cooling, reduce oven temperature to 350.
Using a fork, poke holes into uncooked sweet potatoes. Wrap potatoes in a dish cloth and microwave for 10-12 minutes until soft. The skin will peel right off!
In a large bowl, whip together sweet potatoes and butter using a hand held or stand mixer. Once smooth, add eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Add sugars, flour, salt, baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. With mixer on low, add milk and mix until blended.
Pour contents into pie shell and bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes or until the middle is set and a fork comes out clean. Enjoy with some fresh whipped cream!