Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sweetie [Potato] Pie

What to do on a day off? Days off are such a rare thing. A very precious thing. Is a day off REALLY a day off if you have a to-do list? Here's a glance at my to-do list for the day: make lots of cookie dough (Good deal. I love my job.), de-flea my indoor cat (oh, roommates with dogs...), schedule my *ahem* my annual doctor's appointment (the joys of being a woman), attack/scour/pillage the bathroom (It's current state is reminiscent of a fraternity latrine), purge the kitchen sink from the ever-growing pile of dirty dishes, call/email people I've been putting off, and bake a fun thing. Take a guess at what I did first. I'll give you a hint. One word. Pie. Why sweet potato pie? I had sweet potatoes and a cookbook that my Indian-giving mother wanted back, so sweet potato pie it was. (I kid, I kid.) The cookbook belonged to my grandmother. The copyright year was 1940. I love old books, especially old cookbooks.
The recipe makes a pretty good pie. I'm going to suggest that you not add all of the lemon juice. Three tablespoons is a bit much. Next time I make this, I'm only adding 1 tsp. of lemon juice, including 1 tsp. of vanilla extract, and I'll use brown sugar instead of white.

I NEVER make pie crusts. I don't really care for them. I usually just snatch up a box of refrigerated crusts, and I'm ready to go. BUT I was too lazy to run to the store, so I HAD to make my own. I'd seen pie crusts made in a food processor before, but never tried it. It. Is. So. Easy. Throw in 1 and 1/2 cups of flour, 4 Tbsp. cold butter, 5 Tbsp. cold shortening, 1/2 tsp. salt. Pulse until pea sized clumps form. Slowly add ice cold water by the tablespoons full. I added two tablespoons of water. I was ready to put in a third, but the dough looked just right. You can either roll out the dough or if you lack the counter space, like me, you can squash the dough into the pie plate. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for at least a half hour. Meanwhile, prepare the taters.

Peel, slice, boil or steam until fork tender, and puree in a food processor. You could mash 'em, but it takes a lot of muscle to get the desired silky texture.
And now for the rest of the ingredients: Cream the butter and sugar, separate the eggs, and juice a lemon. Add yolks, lemon juice, (and vanilla extract if you want.) salt, spices. (The recipe calls for a measly 1/4 tsp. of cinnamon. I doubled that and threw in a 1/4 tsp. of ground clove, and a generous dash of freshly grated nutmeg.) Pour in the sweet potato puree (about 2 1/4 cups) and a cup of "top" milk. I didn't have any "top" milk - which I'm assuming is the fattier part of fresh milk - so organic 1% was used.
Whip up the egg whites. I added 1/4 cup of sugar to help the eggs get fluffy, more quickly. The batter needed the extra sweetness anyways. Whip until stiff peaks are formed. Turn the whisk upside down - if the whites stand on their own, you're good to go. GENTLY fold the whites into the batter. Pour into the pie dough-lined pie plate. Bake, wait, and eat.
Not bad for a cookie baker. To add some after-the-fact sweetness, I drizzled on some maple syrup. If I had some whipping cream, I would have made some sweet whipped cream to top it with.
Now, I guess, I'll do those other things on my list. *sigh*

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