Can I just tell you, that Sweet Potato Pie is by far one of my faaaaaavorite pies. Yes, pumpkin pie is nice, and apple too, but I will pass them up for this pie any day of the week. I really love to share the things that I bake with my neighbors and this pie is perfect to bring over to their house during the “holiday season”. It’s a really classic type of recipe with traditional type of ingredients.
So let’s start with the crust. I decided to make this one kind of fancy with the little leaflets on it, but you can keep it as simple as you’d like. I will, however, show you a few pictures of how I made the leaflets, just in case you’d like to get a little fancy as well.
Recipe: Serves 6-8 (1 pie)
For the Crust:
1 1/4 cup of unbleached all-purpose flour (leveled) , and a little more for your work space
1 stick of very cold unsalted butter (8 tablespoons) cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon of organic granulated sugar
1 pinch of sea salt
4- 5 tablespoons of ice cold water (may need a little more depending)
To make your crust you can do this several ways, but it really depends on what tools or machinery you have. If you don’t have any, then you will basically have to mix these ingredients by hand or with the help with a kitchen utensil. If you have a food processor, then that machine will mix all the ingredients for you.
If doing by hand, in a large bowl, add your dry ingredients, and then slowly work in your butter. If you have one of those flour/cream cutter hand tools then use that to aid you in mixing the butter into your flour. If not, then don’t be scared to get your hands in there and mix that butter into the flour, until you have little granules and no large chunks of butter left. Slowly add in your ice cold water (I like to add it, one – two tablespoons at a time). You want your mixture to be moist, but not sticky. If it’s sticky, then you’ve added too much water and you will need to add a little more flour to compensate for that. I say this, but at the same time, you don’t want to over mix your ingredients. Mix everything together, just until it comes to a well mixed ball of firm dough.
If you are using a food processor, add in your dry ingredients first and give it a few pulses, then add in your chunks of butter and blend until you have small granules. Slowly start adding in your ice cold water. Lift up the top and feel, to see if your mixture will stick together. If so, proceed onto the next step. Pour that mixture into a little pile on a well floured surface, then firmly form a round flat disk (3″ x 1″) with it. Then tightly wrap your disk in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to an hour, so that it can chill.
After your dough has chilled, then you can begin to roll it out onto a well floured surface. Keep the size of your pie pan in mind when you are doing this. If your pan is 9 inches, then roll it out to about 12 – 13 inches wide, so that you have a lot of room to work with. Place your dough onto your pan and lightly press it into your pan, letting the sides drape over. Take a sharp knife and trim the edges, leaving at least an inch left all the way around.
Now, this is the part where you can be creative. And of course it’s totally up to you, as to what you’d like to do with the edges. The least that you can do, would be to make little pinch type edges, every inch or so, all the way around. A lot of people build the edge up and use a fork imprint for the edges. After you’ve figured all of that out, I would suggest putting that pie pan(with dough) back into your fridge for another hour so it can chill again. Gather those scraps and form a small ball/disk with those and set to the side, if you’ll be using those for decoration.
I will briefly show you what I decided to do with this pie. You obviously don’t have to do this fancy stuff and you can continue to the next step if you wish.
3/4 cup of organic granulated sugar
**Note – with some items I use organic products to ensure they are vegan/vegetarian, but you can substitute if you don’t care.**
Peel your potatoes and cut them up into large chunks. Place them into a medium size pot with water covering them at least an inch over. Boil them on a medium heat for about 30 minutes or until they are very tender to a fork. Drain them(let them cool a bit) and place them into a medium mixing bowl. Add in butter, both types of sugar and your spices and take a potato masher and mix/mash really well in together. In a separate small bowl, mix your milk, eggs, and vanilla together. Pour you wet mixture into your bowl with the potatoes and mix really well. (If you have a hand mixer/blender you can use that as well on low speed). Get your pie pan out of the fridge and pour filling into the pan. Take a butter knife and smooth the top.
To make the leaflets:
Roll out the leftover dough that you had really thin. Take a pizza cutter or sharp knife, whichever you have or works best for you and cut/roll out little leaf shapes. **Please note, a lot of stores sell different pre-made shapes, but I did it the old fashioned way.** Pull away any excess dough you have. Take a toothpick and press a firm line through the center of your leafs.
Then begin to press diagonal lines, that line up together on each side, like so. See? Not too complicated. I also took some of my dough and made thin skinny strips and twisted them like a rope to go around my pie. After I poured in my filling, I placed/pressed the roping around the pie pan. And then I gently placed the leaflets around the edges like so, securing one end to the roping.
Heat your oven at 350 degrees. If you feel more comfortable, you can place your pie onto a baking sheet for safe measure. Bake for 50-60 minutes on the middle rack, in the middle of your oven. Your crust should be golden in color, and your filling should be firm (no jiggle, clean to a toothpick). Let your pie cool for 30 minutes to an hour. Slice and enjoy!