Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sweet Potato Pie (and also LARD)

Okay, so we had a little change of plans. Necessity is the mother of invention, right? We've been getting a lot of sweet potatoes this Spring through Bountiful Baskets. Prima and Seconda (and, frankly even mr. and I) have gamely tried vegetables that are not our usual fare, and found some new things that we like. A lot. Sweet potatoes have been kind of a sticking point. We've tried making french fries with them (somewhat successful), we've tried using them in curry, like we do regular potatoes (too sweet), and we've tried making hash browns with them (complete failure). Seconda is not interested in any of these formats for sweet potatoes. So, I told her next time we had sweet potatoes we'd try pie and see if we liked that. And now was the time. Mind you, I have an aversion to candied yams. I won't go anywhere near that nonsense on Thanksgiving. And I was afraid that sweet potato pie would be just like that. Well, I was wrong.

Of course, I used a recipe from Alton Brown (who, if you haven't heard, is ending the glorious Good Eats that has been a source of unspeakable joy for us) (was that too much?). He just knows how to balance flavors right, in my opinion. And he may be the reason why we will be fans of Sweet Potato Pie henceforward. If I had tried any other recipe, I think I would have been disappointed. This was not as sweet as I imagined (was afraid) it would be. In fact, it was tangy (plain Greek yogurt). And light. mr. said it tasted like Springtime Pumpkin Pie. Which it did. Not as spicy, not as heavy, but equally delicious.

I don't know that I could eat buckets-full of the filling on its own, but combined with the crust and the nuts (I didn't do the maple syrup drizzle--because I don't believe in maple) it was perfect. Crunchy and sweet and tangy and a little spicy (I added maybe a 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger along with the other spices--and probably a full teaspoon of salt).

Yum. Naturally, we had freshly whipped cream on top, but we thought it would also have been fun and delicious to top the pie with marshmallows and toast them a little with the kitchen torch. Playing on the idea of candied yams, but without all the overly sweetened-ness.

Now, here's the only problem I had with this pie: the crust. My crust. WHAT? You may (or may not) remember my hunt for leaf lard. I wasn't able to find a local source, but I did find some available to purchase on the internet, and paid more to ship it (in refrigerated packaging) than I paid for the lard itself. And I would have been willing to continue doing that if the lard had turned out to be everything I'd heard it could be. If it had changed the flavor and texture of my pie crust in magically delicious ways. But it just hasn't. In fact, it has made the dough harder to work with (less elastic) and not as tasty. I think I like the slightly savory flavor that regular lard gives my crusts--the saltiness balances with the sweetness of whatever filling I'm using. So, yeah, disappointed by that a little bit. But, BONUS, I won't have to take out a second mortgage on my house to buy lard in the future.

TGIP Rating--Sweet Potato Pie--KEEPER. Who knew?!

Next up: I really will be making hand pies next. Cherry and apple. Just like the Golden Arches. Except delicious. And real.


Bex said...

The Rose Establishment coffee shop downtown occasionally has sweet potato pecan muffins that are fantastic! Maybe something like that would work for the fam as well.

Teresa said...
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