I yam what I yam.
Sorry, couldn’t pass up the old chestnut. Really, this started when I had a can of yams in the pantry, and I was talking to my Mom about some of the oddball foods that made the move to TX with us. It wasn’t supposed to be this way… but that’s another story, I’m not going to keep you waiting that long for the recipe. Suffice it to say that Mom pointed out my can of yams in syrup was most likely sweet potatoes, and she was right.
So I made pie with ’em.
You could, of course, make this with baked sweet potatoes. I’d recommend increasing the sugar to 3/4 c, and using a little orange juice to make your puree smooth (here, I used reserved liquids from the canned sweet potatoes). The recipe as written makes 2 9″ pies, in single pie shells.
- 3 c sweet potato puree (1 40 oz can of yams in light syrup, drain but reserve liquid)
- 1/2 c brown sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 c butter (two sticks), softened
- 1/2 c half and half
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 pie shells, unbaked
- 1 c pecan halves
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- pinch of chili powder or cayenne
Preheat oven to 350F
To puree the sweet potatoes, I used my food processor, pulsing a few times to break down the pieces, then on continuous, while adding a drizzle of the reserved liquid, until I formed a smooth puree. At this point, you could easily freeze the puree for later, if you were baking up a bunch of potatoes and wanted to make prep easier for later meals/desserts.
In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter with the spices to start releasing their flavors. Cream in the sugar, then add in while mixing (medium speed in a stand mixer) the eggs one at a time, then slowly add the sweet potato puree. Increase speed, and add the half and half, vanilla, and salt. Beat on med-high until well homogenized and fluffy in appearance.
Add half of the filling to each pie shell, shimmy to level, and bake at 350F for an hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly.
For pie crust, I used my lard crust recipe, substituting Einkorn flour for wheat flour, which was quite successful, as Einkorn adds a little nuttiness to the flavor.
The candied pecans, along with whipped cream, served to finish off serving portions, and they add a needed touch of crunchiness as well as great flavor in themselves.
Using a silicone mat on a cookie sheet, I spread out my pecans, and popped them in the oven under the pies for ten minutes at 350F. When that time was about up, I melted together the butter and sugar in the microwave (took about 30 seconds in mine.) I took the nuts out, shook them around, and drizzled over the melted sugar mixture, then sprinkled the salt and spice over it all before shaking again to coat. I put them back in the oven for another ten minutes, shook, and finished them up for another five minutes, although that last may have been a touch too long. They got on the far side of ‘toasty’ but not all the way to ‘burnt’ and the flavor developed almost bitter in a few of the nuts. Cool the nuts, and chop. Once completely cool, put in a container for storage – these are fun on all sorts of things, not just the pie!
The pies were made to be shared with friends, and the verdict is that they came out very well, being not too sweet, but flavorful. The filling baked up light, not nearly as dense as a pumpkin pie, since the potato gave enough structure to keep the custard airy.
The final vote of the evening? Yep. Eaten right out of the pie plate!