Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Potato Pies: Sweet Potato Styles

We all know and have probably tasted the Southern favorite - Sweet Potato Pie. Way back when, plain old bakers (as in the white potatoes used for baked potatoes) were used in pies, too. Here is a recipe from The Blue Grass Cook Book (1904) that uses mashed potatoes, which I guess would make a great use for mashed potatoes. I haven't tried a white starchy potato as the basis for a pie and wonder if the grittiness would show through in the final product as sweet potatoes don't have the same texture.

The classic sweet potato pie has been around for a very long time, as shown in the cookbook My Mother's Cook Book (1880). Although, back then the pies seem much less sweet and much more seasoned than today's pies. This recipe uses three tablespoons of sugar and one and a half grated nutmeg (whole, I'm assuming) per one quart of sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potato Pie (1880)
One quart of sweet potatoes boiled and well strained through a sieve, three beaten eggs, three tablespoonfuls of sugar, three tablespoonfuls of butter, one and a half grated nutmegs, one-half teaspoonful of ground cinnamon, a less quantity of ground cloves, a little lemon peel or essence of lemon, enough cream to make the mixture a thin batter. Make a rich paste, and, covering your baking plates, pour in the mixture and bake without a top paste.

During the fall season, I enjoy making sweet potato pies, in as many different versions and recipes I can find and experiment with. Here is my version with brandy.

Sweet Potato Brandy Pie (My Recipe)
  • 2 cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 3 large eggs
  • 12-oz. can of evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 8 to 10 whole pecan halves, optional
  • 1 unbaked 10 inch pie crust

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place the sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl. Add in the beaten eggs, evaporated milk, sugars, salt, and brandy. Mix until well blended. Pour the pie filling into the prepared pie crust. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Open the door and carefully lay pecan halves, if using, around the edge of the pie. Lower the heat to 350 degrees F and continue baking until the center of the pie tests done, about 25 to 35 minutes more. Remove from the oven and cool. Serve warm or cold.

Renee Shelton, Creator of PastrySampler.com

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