When testing Sweet Potato Pie, I asked for feedback from my southern friend, Bernard, who knows how sweet potato pie should really taste. One of the first ingredients to go was cloves. I made adjustments and baked off little ramekin samples until he assured me that it was just right. It’s southern goodness in a crust. Thanks, Bernard!
Roasting sweet potatoes before baking them into pie intensifies their flavor through caramelization. As they cool, the peels release like parchment paper, eliminating the tedious task of peeling with a potato peeler.
Sweet Potato Pie Recipe
|WHAT YOU NEED||WHAT TO DO||WHY|
|Place oven rack just below center; start preheating to 400°F “Convection” (verify with an oven thermometer).||Ovens often run hot or cold or preheat slowly.|
||Meanwhile, prepare potatoes. Rinse and cut out any damaged areas. Evenly pierce each 6-8 times with a knife, space across a lined half sheet pan, and bake until caramelized juices escape (50-60 minutes). Transfer to a wire rack to cool (20-25 minutes). Skins will separate from the flesh, making peeling quite easy. Discard any damaged areas and set flesh aside.||Peeling and roasting reduces weight by approximately 25%. Piercing prevents an uncontrolled steam burst.|
||Sift all together into a 1-cup bowl. Whisk until corn starch is no longer visible; set aside.||Sifting removes starch and spice clumps, as well as nutmeg grit, which is most unpleasant in the finished custard. Whisking starch into other ingredients eliminates starch clumps.|
In the order listed, add all to a blender/food processor. Follow with the spice mix and 29 ounces of sweet potato flesh. Cover and pulse to perfect smoothness (50-60 seconds), scraping down sides with a silicone spatula as needed. Set aside at room temperature.
|Adding eggs first helps blades draw in other ingredients. Warm cream cheese blends easily. Weighing flesh produces consistent results.|
|Place a rack two-thirds down in the oven; set back to 400°F “Convection.”|
||To shape bottom crust (1-crust pie): Fold pastry round in half, and then in half again to transfer to a deep dish pie plate (9.5-inch, 6 cup capacity). Center the point; unfold and smooth without stretching. Trim overhang to 1 inch all the way around; mend splits or weak spots with scraps. Turn edges neatly under and crimp.||*Included in calorie and time calculations. Stretched dough shrinks back as it bakes. Mending prevents filling from leaking during baking.|
|Fill pastry with custard, leaving ½ inch exposed crust. Bake promptly.||Baking promptly prevents a soggy bottom crust. The filling will swell about ¼ inch during baking.|
|When filling swells almost to the center (38-40 minutes) confirm that a toothpick inserted into the center of the pie comes out clean, or that an instant-read thermometer registers 175°F. The center will still be “jiggly.” Promptly shut off the oven and crack the door open to allow the center to cruise gently up to 180°F. Leave pie in oven 1 hour to cool slowly, and then age in the refrigerator 12-24 hours before serving.||Overcooking or rapid temperature changes cause cracking. Aging promotes smoothness in custards.|
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