Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet, sweet potato pie…

I’m a shitty baker… or not…?

I tried my hand at another baking experiment. The chocolate pomegranate tart experiment was either a success or a failure, I’m not even sure… This time I was expecting more or less the same results; a bit of a success and a bit of a failure, but I went in focused… not taking any chances.

I began by slicing a bigass sweet potato (485g before I peeled it) in half and setting it in a pot of boiling water for an hour; I wasn’t taking any chances, I wanted this sweet potato as tender as I could possibly make it before mashing it. I cut it in half so it’d be easy to scoop out the inside without getting too much skin in the way… Then I did the pie crust; 75g of butter (which I weighed) that has been cut up into pieces and placed into the freezer overnight. I’ve done this before when I baked a pumpkin pie using Chef John’s recipe, so this should be easy… I added 1 cup of flour to a food processor, added a bit of salt and my frozen butter, processed until I got coarse crumbs, then added about 5-6 tablespoons of water until it started to clump up… then another spoon for good luck. A mistake; the dough became too moist and sticky, so quick thinking I sprinkled on just a bit more flour and gently pressed it onto the outside of the dough. Nothing too fancy… I then wrapped it in plastic and it went into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.

30 minutes later, I took it out of the fridge, generously floured my work surface and rolled that dough out. It was too small for my new 9-inch pie plate… Last time I used a cake pan so I had no idea about the proper ingredient amounts for a dough that fits a 9-inch pie plate. So I sprinkled on more flour and rolled it into the dough to add some volume to it. The edges were too moist and thin, so I folded them back into the center of the dough and rolled them out again, making sure all the edges were relatively thick, adding more flour wherever and whenever needed…

Crimped the edges. The dough was far too soft at this point. Put a kitchen towel, because it was the closest thing, into my pie plate so that the dough held it’s shape and placed it in the fridge to chill for another 10 minutes while I preheated my oven to 350F, figuring that there’s no way this crust will hold its shape and cook evenly after I added the filling so I decided to blind-bake it, something I was hoping I wouldn’t have to do. Took the chilled pie shell out of the fridge, molded on some aluminum foil so it holds its shape while it prebakes and placed it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes… wasn’t really counting.

Got my sweet potatoes out of the boiling water and added them to my mixing bowl. Let them cool just a little, took the skin off, which I promptly ate, easily with my hands (didn’t need to scoop out the insides after all) then proceeded to mash the potatoes into a purée with a fork. Then, remembering the 100+ sweet potato pie recipes I read the night before as reference, I improvised a filling: the juice from 1 lemon, since many people (particularly Laura Vitale) said lemon juice is really good in a sweet potato pie, some nutmeg because I love nutmeg and so do many sweet potato pie recipes, some cinnamon for the same reason, about 3/4 of a can of sweetened condensed milk because I had it and love it because it’s much easier than a combination of sugar and evaporated milk, a pinch of salt, and then the eggs…

Remembering what happened with the pomegranate chocolate tart, as well as Chef John’s pumpkin pie recipe which used 3 egg yolks and only 1 whole egg, I decided to go for 1 whole egg and 1 yolk. Figuring that sweet potatoes are already much richer than pumpkins, 2 more yolks probably wouldn’t be necessary. I set aside the whites from one of the eggs in another bowl. I gave it all a good stir with a wooden spoon, then gave it a taste because I’m not afraid of raw eggs… Okay, problem; not enough flavour and not sweet enough, let’s add a splash of vanilla extract, a bit more nutmeg and cinnamon because I can hardly taste them, and the rest of this can of sweetened condensed milk. Taste. Holy shit this is fucking delicious. And it’s a good thing I pre-baked the pie crust too; this is a very dense filling. There’s no way the bottom of the crust would’ve baked properly under this… Anyways, let’s check on my pie crust…

Took it out of the oven after about 13 minutes or so. It hasn’t browned, but I didn’t want it to; I only wanted it cooked enough so it would hold its shape when I added the filling. But I guess I did want it browned perhaps just a little bit, so I brushed on some of the reserved egg white onto the bottom and sides of the half-cooked pie shell and placed it back into the oven (without the aluminum foil) for about 7 minutes… wasn’t really counting.

Uh oh. Bad idea… The crust started forming these large air pockets in the sides since there was nothing to hold its shape. Took it out immediately. It also still wasn’t even slightly browned but it looked fairly dry and mostly cooked, but since I didn’t want it expanding anymore I just said “fuck it”, fixed the sides as best as I cook since it was still sort of raw enough to mold and poured in my pie filling, making the top as smooth as possible with my wooden spoon (which was difficult due to the stringy texture of the potatoes). That went into the oven, and I set the timer for 30 minutes, giving my mother the task of licking the mixing bowl while I claimed the spoon. Took it out 30 minutes later, decided the crust was too light and the top still too moist, so I put it back into the oven and set the timer for 10 more minutes, but took it out after 8 when I checked it and I decided that it was cooked enough…

IMG_2071

The air pockets only seemed to get worse. I’ll make a note to blind-bake it with the aluminum foil for a little longer next time… Anyways, not taking any chances, I let it cool for 2-3 hours before trying to slide it out of the pie plate onto a cutting board, since I really dislike cutting things in a container with concave edges. And even after that, I continued to let it cool for 30 minutes more before cutting it. Did I mention I wasn’t taking any chances? Got out my chef’s knife, slowly cut it in half, seesawing which probably wasn’t a good idea, so learning from my mistake I took to a more aggressive and quick straight-down cut, and I did that until my pie was in 8 evenly-sized pieces.

Disregarding the relatively poor aesthetics of 6/8 of the slices, I took the nicest piece, put it on my fancy dessert plate, took a few 31 pictures, then topped it with my whipped cream (it was actually sour cream), took 11 more… THEN I sprinkled on a pinch of cinnamon, and took 66 more pictures. I really wasn’t taking any chances. If for whatever reason it looked better without the cinnamon or without the whipped cream sour cream, I’d want a picture just in case. Once I was nearly certain that I had a good picture in there somewhere, I called my mother over and told her to get herself a fork (because I already got her a plate but forgot about the fork) and demanded that she’d try a piece with me. “Jó étvágyat.” was uttered and we proceeded to simultaneously stab the pie slices placed in front of us with our forks. I forked a small piece into my mouth and clamped my mouth shut an–

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Wait…………… what………..?

I was… well, I had to slow my roll for a second… Usually when I’m in a “Let’s get things over with” mood, nothing can slow me down, let alone stop me… But this pie… I know it sounds biased and cliché, but this pie was… well, probably the most delicious thing that I ever had in my mouth. ;-;

“I’m not a shitty baker…” I said, at moderate volume. My mother, curiousity peaked, forked in her first bite, and was visibly as taken aback as I was. “No… you really aren’t. And you should never say that you are.”

It was so tasty, the sour cream could’ve been described as “felesleges” (lit. pointless). I mean it was okay, but the pie was just so moist and so flavourful on it’s own, that the sour cream, or even whipped cream would’ve been completely unnecessary. I didn’t even lob on more like I’d usually do; I was satisfied with simply licking the spoon clean when my mother was done tasting it with the sour cream and agreeing with me when I stated that the sour cream wasn’t even necessary.

I’m still in shock… I mean the pie crust could’ve went a little better aesthetically, and I shall make the appropriate notes on what I’ve learnt so that I can make an even better pie crust in the future, but holy crap this pie… I’m actually kind of upset that I’m not a pig, otherwise I would’ve eaten the whole pie then and there…

Anyways, let’s go over what we’ve learnt today:

  1. If prebaking is necessary, pre-bake the pie shell with the aluminum foil on the whole time until lightly browned, then brush on the egg white only right before pouring in the filling, if at all.
  2. 1 cup of flour is not enough for to create a pie shell for a 9-inch pie plate.
  3. I’m not a shitty baker. (´・ω・`)
  4. Buy some apple cider vinegar and make tastier pie crust, for next time! ( ^_^)/

And now, the recipe… This is without a doubt the richest, creamiest, and most delicious sweet potato pie recipe on the internet, as of today.

Ingredients for a 9-inch pie plate (~8 slices)
450g sweet potatoes
1 large egg
1 egg yolk
1 can (300ml) sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 lemon

For the pie crust:
1&1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick or 94g) butter, chilled in the freezer for at least an hour
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
4-6 tbsp cold water

Steps
1. Cut your sweet potatoes in half and place into a pot of boiling salted and cook slightly uncovered at a simmer for 50 minutes to an hour.
2. Add flour and salt to a food processor, then add cold butter and process until coarse crumbs form.
3. Add in a spoon of apple cider vinegar, then keep processing and adding 1 spoon of water at a time, slowly, until it starts clumping up on its own in the food processor and you’re able to mold it.
4. Take the dough out and press it firmly into a patty or ball shape, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
5. Take the chilled dough out of the fridge and roll it until it’s large enough to fit into your pie plate, crimp the edges, then fill the center with a dish towel or something similar and chill it in the fridge again for at least 10 more minutes, and preheat your oven to 350F.
6. Once the oven is preheated, place some aluminum foil or parchment paper into the open pie shell so that it can hold its shape while it bakes and pre-bake the pie crust in the center rack of the oven for 15-20 minutes, just until it’s slightly browned.

7. In a large bowl, add your drained and dried boiled sweet potatoes, skins removed. Mash the potatoes up vigourously with a fork until there are no chunks left.
8. Add the juice from 1 lemon freshly squeezed, a can of sweetened condensed milk, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla extract, mix it thoroughly, taste and adjust until you’re satisfied with the taste, then add your egg and egg yolk, reserving the whites from one of the egg.
9. Take your pie shell out of the oven and brush the bottom and sides of the crust with your reserved egg whites so it lightly coats the surface, then pour in your pie filling, smoothing out the top so there are no peaks that may ruin its aesthetics.
10. Place back into the center rack of the oven for another 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top is only slightly moist in the center and the crust is a nice golden brown.
11. Remove from the oven and place on a rack to cool for 2 to 3 hours, or until just slightly warm before cutting. It will continue to cook as it cools and it needs some time to set before you cut it.
12. Cut pie into 8 even slices, lob on some whipped cream or whatever you like with a pinch of cinnamon, and serve!

Notes:
I took 155 pictures in total. (´・ω・`)

Also for those of you who think sour cream is a weird topping for pie, I’ll have you know the sour cream we have is so rich and delicious it works as a topping for literally everything. I probably wouldn’t do the same thing with 14% “standard” sour cream (which is actually low-fat sour cream with artificial ingredients to compensate for its lack of flavour and texture but is considered “standard” because obese North Americans are afraid of anything with fat in it… Actual “standard” sour cream is 18%-25%, and in North America that’s considered “extra rich”… Heh, ironic.)

Well, I did it… I’m no longer a “shitty baker”; now I’m just a “mediocre baker”. So maybe next time, I’ll be… a “baker”. ⊂((・▽・))⊃

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About Chef Treble

Feed me weird things.

Posted on November 16, 2015, in Dessert, Eggs & Dairy, Food Talk, Original, Western and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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