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Sweet Potato Pie

It’s a southern American staple but many of us have never heard of, let alone baked a Sweet Potato Pie. While you have most likely had a slice of pumpkin pie before, sweet potato pie is less common outside of southern America.

So what is the difference between sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie?

While technically you could switch the pumpkin for sweet potato puree in any pumpkin pie recipe, pumpkin pies generally have a higher puree to egg ratio, fewer spices and more vanilla. This sweet potato pie recipe gives a lighter creamier filling than most pumpkin pies and has the added bones of not needing to blind bake the crust.

The secret is in the baking. The best pies always start with baked sweet potato

By baking the sweet potato, instead of boiling, you are removing any excess moisture while also helping to break down the sweet potato complex sugars resulting in more depth of flavour. Less moisture in the sweet potatoes also gives a creamier pie.

Get organised. You can bake the sweet potatoes up to a week in advance. After baking, let cool and store in an air tight container.

Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 unbaked pie crust
  • 2 large sweet potatoes (about 1kg pounds total)
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 can evaporated milk (1 3/4 cups)
  • Bake the sweet potatoes. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 190°C. For best results, place the sweet potatoes directly on the oven rack (place a tray or foil underneath the rack to catch any drips). Bake the sweet potatoes until tender, about 1 hour. While the potatoes bake, prepare the crust for baking.
  • Prepare the pie crust. Roll out the pie crust into an 30cm round. Transfer it to a deep, tart pan and use it to line the bottom and sides of the pan, pressing the dough into the sides as needed. Refrigerate while the sweet potatoes bake and while preparing the filling, at least 30 minutes.
  • Cool the sweet potatoes and scoop out their flesh. Cool the potatoes for about 30 minutes, or until you can comfortably handle them. Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop the flesh out into a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. (Alternatively, store the sweet potato flesh in the refrigerator for up to 1 week before proceeding.)
  • Purée the sweet potatoes. Process the sweet potatoes until very smooth.
  • Make the filling. Add the brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, eggs, and evaporated milk to the food processor and pulse to combine.
  • Fill the crust. Place the tart pan on a baking paper lined baking tray. Pour the filling into the crust. The filling should come almost to the top of the crust, but be carefully not to overfill. You may have a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of extra filling, which you can bake alongside the pie in an oven-safe ramekin (cook’s benefits)
  • Bake until the center is just set. Bake until the top appears dry (it may puff and crack slightly around the edges) and the center jiggles, but doesn't wiggle, when nudged, about 45 minutes.
  • Cool. Cool the pie completely before serving — it will continue to set as it cools.

RECIPE NOTES

Tart pan alternative: No tart pan? Use a deep pie plate and blind bake the crust before filling. Cover the pie crust with parchment paper and fill with dried beans (or pie weights). Bake until the edges just start to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove the weights and parchment, and bake for another 5 minutes before filling and proceeding with the recipe.

Make ahead: This pie can be baked up to 2 days ahead; wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve. Serve cold or at room temperature.