When Tom’s parents visited a couple of weeks ago, I aksed him what he wanted me to bake them for dessert? He immediately decided that he wanted his all time favourite, Sweet Potato Pie. This was fine with me, I was in the mood for pie baking (my favourite baking task) and I love sweet potato pie too. It is an odd pie, I’ll admit, but its super easy to make, very effective and because its made out of vegetables, really chep to bake. I’d probably suggest it more for a winter dessert, but if you can’t wait, then just serve it cold and it will do just fine.
Quintissentially American, sweet potato pie is exactly what it sounds like, pie, made with sweet potatoes. Don’t let this put you off, it’s no more unusual than carrot cake, and much tastier. It is also nothing like the disasterous pumpkin pie your mum made one halloween out of a jackolantern! Sweet potato pie is delicious, squidgy comfort food that reminds you of autumn leaves, fireworks and mittens. One taste and you will be smitten.
The recipe I used is, again, from my favourite book of Pies, Julie Hasson’s The Complete Book of Pies. Again, this book is American so I have made a few changes.
First, bake the sweet potatoes in their skins in a hot oven (about 200c) for an hour – just put them on a baking sheet and throw them in the oven, no ceremony needed. You will know when they are done as they will be soft, oozing and they’ll smell like christmas! Mash the potatoes until they are smooth, and blend with the other ingredients. I would add a lot more cinnamon (at least double) than Hasson suggests, but then, I really like cinnamon. Leave the mixture to cool, and use the time to make a pastry base. Hasson suggests using a store bought crust. I suggest you make Delia’s shortcrust pastry (foolproof) from Delia’s Complete Cookery Course(if you don’t have this, buy it, buy it now) and blind bake for about ten minutes. when both parts are cooled, spoon the mixture into the pastry case and sprinkle a generous helping of cinnamon on top.
Whip up a carton of double cream with icing sugar and vanilla (quantities to taste) until you have stiff (but not rigid) peaks. Spoon on top of a warm or cold pie (not hot, never hot) pie. A word to the wise, if you spoon cream onto a warm pie, insure that this is because you intend to serve the pie warm. If you don’t, the cream will melt. Sprinkle with a mixture of light muscavado sugar, cinnamon and gold glitter, and serve.
The great thing about this pie is that it will keep about as long as the cream on top will, so if you are just making it for you and your family, feel free not to top the pie. Just serve cream alongside it, or serve with ice-cream or custard. It won’t look as fancy, but who cares.