Sweet potato pie is a culinary delight that NEEDS to be experienced by more people. I can feel some of you out there getting bent out of shape about potatoes being in your pie … might I remind you that pumpkin is a squash and tastes like squash UNTIL someone does some spicy magic to it in the kitchen; much is the same for sweet potatoes.
If you want some history on the sweet potato pie please read this delicious article by Adrain Miller in the Washington Post – the article DOES a great job tracing the potatoes origins (Peru) through history to West Africa, Europe, England (Shakespearian shout-out included), and how sweet potatoes / sweet potato pie took root in this country and how it’s grown past its once regional origins to be a dessert loved and eaten by Americans all over the country.
We never had sweet potato pie when I was growing up. In fact, the only time I ever saw sweet potatoes was at Thanksgiving (maybe Christmas) when my mother dutifully roasted, mashed, and sugared sweet potatoes into her famous less-sweet than anyone else’s sweet potato casserole (topped with pecan streusel and NEVER marshmallows) that won hearts and tastebuds of everyone that tried it. There as no way anyone was going to try and make a pie to follow that act … until me, because: PIE.
Sweet potato pie is subtle and warm. It’s like getting wrapped in the best blanket hug you can imagine. Personally, I like it served at room temp (and because why not – a dab of vanilla ice cream) or, better yet slightly warmed in the oven. It’s a delicate pie in which the flavors meld and separate on your tongue; you can taste the nutmeg and the Grand Marnier individually, but at the same time you can only taste the pie as a whole. Sweet potato pie is MAGIC.
Do your Thanksgiving table a favor and make a (or two) sweet potato pie … leave the pumpkin at home this year and expand your culinary views and embrace Americana in all its forms. Or not, but that means MOAR PIE FOR ME.
Note: 700g of roasted sweet potatoes will take 3 large potatoes (trust me on this); you’ll probably have a bit leftover – but better more than less. Preheat your oven to 350F. Wash and dry your potatoes. Make sure to poke the potatoes with a fork (exploding potatoes is BAD). Line a cookie sheet with tin foil as the potatoes will ooze a bit as they roast and you don’t want to scrub that off a cookie sheet. Your potatoes will need to roast for at least an hour (I honestly don’t know how long mine took … I checked them every 10 minutes after the hour and took them out once I could squish them down and they felt soft). Once the potatoes have cooled enough to handle peel off the skin (I used my hands). As sweet potatoes can be stringy and lumpy I put them in a mixer with a paddle attachment and beat them on HIGH for 1-2 minutes until smooth.
Grand Marnier Spiked Sweet Potato Pie
700g sweet potatoes, roasted until tender, peeled, mashed, and whipped (see note)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
4 TBSP butter, softened
1 yolk (reserve the egg white)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup evaporated milk
4 tsp Grand Marnier
1 tsp vanilla
1 unbaked pie shell ready to go in a pie pan (store bought or homemade)
Preheat your oven to 425F.
Cream butter and sugars together. Add the roasted sweet potatoes and mix until completely combined.
Next add the two whole eggs and one yolk individually, mixing thoroughly between each addition. Add in the spices and salt, followed by the condensed milk and the evaporated milk (mix in slowly and completely).
Finally add in the vanilla and Grand Marnier. The pie mixture will look and smell almost exactly like pumpkin pie (maybe a touch thicker) at this point.
Pour (and scoop) sweet potato mixture into awaiting pie shell. (As you can see I decorated my pie with some simple leaves made out of extra pie dough. I brushed the reserved egg white over the leaves and the crimped pie edges to give them that nice golden brown color).
Bake for 15 minutes at 425F and then lower the temp to 350F and bake for an additional 30 – 40 minutes (the pie will rise in the center … mine baked for 35 minutes as was PERFECTION). Also note that after the initial 15 minutes I loosely covered the crust in tin foil so it wouldn’t over-brown (I simply take two lengths of tin foil and crimp them together to form a circle and place it over the pie crust – NOT the pie) or burn. I baked the leaves alongside the pie after the oven confirmed it was at 350F (10-15 minutes, keep you eye on them).
Once the pie as cooled you can decorate with leaves if you wish. If you’re eating the pie the day you make if don’t worry about refrigerating it, but as sweet potato pie is a custard based pie (like pumpkin) it should be stored in the fridge long term.