It's been a week, and I'm still reeling from Thanksgiving. First there's the marathon cooking sessions leading up to the big day (which thankfully, I was spared this year because my mother did just about everything herself), then there's the mad dash to eat, freeze and reinvent all the leftovers before anything spoils. And of course, the rush to post it all here before I forget what the hell it is I'm talking about.
This year my one contribution to Thanksgiving dinner (or dessert rather) was a sweet potato pie. I'd been eyeing it ever since I got my Best of the Best cookbook and the deal was sealed when my mother announced that no way no how was she making a pumpkin pie. I couldn't wait to report back. Then smittenkitchen waxed poetic about it and frankly, I lost momentum. I mean, no one cares what I have to say about the stupid pie, especially not when there are, you know, real food bloggers talking about it.
But it was heavenly and delicious and something I very cheerfully continued to eat in the days after Thanksgiving when turkey was becoming my sworn enemy. It is light and yet cheesecakey. It's really amazing I didn't just eat the whole thing in one sitting.
SWEET POTATO PIE
courtesy of the Lee Brothers, as featured in Best of the Best
1.5 C sifted all purpose flour
1 T sugar
8 T butter
1/4 cup(ish) ice water
*original recipe called for 4 T of lard and 4 t of butter. I don't do lard, so I used all butter. I use salted butter. The original recipe also called for 1 t of salt. That in combination with the salted butter makes the crust nasty like a salt lick. Then you have to make another crust. Don't do that. If you use unsalted butter you can add a small pinch of salt, but I'd stay away from anything so large as a teaspoon.
Preheat your oven to 325 F. Sift the dry ingredients together. Cut the butter into small chunks and cut it in using a pastry cutter or two knives. When the mixture gets a sandy texture like coarse crumbs you can add the water a tablespoon at a time. Make sure it's ice water. Toss with a fork to combine after each addition of water. When the dough holds together, form a round disk, wrap tightly and refrigerate for 15 minutes or until ready to use.
Roll out the dough (use flour as needed) until large enough for a 9" pie plate. Transfer the dough to a pie plate, trim the edges and crimp as desired. Again, refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Prebake the crust. First lay a sheet of aluminum foil on top of the dough and use pie weights (or beans or pennies) to weight it down. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Then remove the weights, use a fork to prick the bottom all over and then bake for 10 more minutes.
1. 5 lbs sweet potatoes (about 2 medium sweet potatoes), peeled and chopped to a 1/2 inch dice
4 T unsalted butter, melted
1 T lemon juice *
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t kosher salt
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 C sugar
2 T flour
1/4 C buttermilk
*the lemon juice is pretty strong in the pie, the Lee brothers ask for 2 T, and even being a lemon lover that seemed a bit much. I do like how it cuts the richness, so I hesitate to eliminate it entirely.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Pour 1.5 inches of water into a large pot. Insert a strainer and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add the sweet potatoes and steam until tender about 20 minutes. Drain them, place them in a large bowl and allow to cool. Then mash until smooth. You'll want 1 and 1/4 C puree, so you can just eat the excess (or make another pie). Add the butter, lemon juice, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt. Mix thoroughly.
Separate the eggs. The whites can go in the base of your mixer (or another bowl, but I like to do egg whites in the stand mixer), the yolks go in a small bowl. Whisk together the egg yolks and the sugar until creamy and pale yellow. Then add to the sweet potato mixture. Add the flour and mix until thoroughly blended. Then add the buttermilk and mix that in.
In your mixer, whisk your egg whites to soft peaks. Then with a spatula fold the egg whites into the sweet potatoes and buttermilk. When well combined, pour the mixture into the pie crust and bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool completely on a rack and serve at room temperature or chilled from the fridge. Whipped cream is fabulous on top.