Sweet potato pie with whipped cream and maple pecans

Monday, 13 November 2017

Last year my sister asked for a sweet potato pie topped with burnt marshmallow for us to have on the Christmas table. The pie didn’t make it to table, but we certainly weren’t short on American offerings. It was the second year running for having completely un-englishified an undoubtedly British affair – spuds and sprouts were sitting alongside a shallow fried patty of Kraft Mac n Cheese, the cornbread had a thick, stuffing-like consistency and it paired well with the actual stuffing made from a packet of sage and onion stuffing mix and supermarket sausage meat. The sweet potato pie would have rounded off our weird fusion dinner nicely.

We’re six weeks away from Christmas (not that I’m counting), so instead of appropriately churning out another pumpkin pie, I wanted to pay homage to our missing sweet potato pie of yesteryear. To be honest though, this is not too dissimilar to a pumpkin pie – but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try this alternative. The sweet potato, if blended to death, makes for a silky custard filling. I used whipped cream instead of marshmallow topping to tone down the sweetness, and the pecans are there to look pretty and add crunch i.e. totally not necessary. I hope this pie makes it to your Christmas or Thanksgiving table.

Sweet potato pie with whipped cream and maple pecans

Makes one 9 inch pie

Ingredients

For the pastry
  • 200g plain flour, plus extra to dust
  • 100g unsalted butter, cold and cubes
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 2 medium egg yolks mixed with 2 tbsp ice cold water
  • 1 egg, beaten (for the egg wash)

For the pie filling
  • 4-5 medium sweet potatoes, 450g flesh
  • 3 medium eggs, at room temperature
  • 175g double cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 125g light brown sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • 1/8  tsp ground star anise (optional)

For the maple pecans
  • 100g pecans
  • 100ml maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • Whipped cream, to serve

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/180°C fan. Put the sweet potatoes on a roasting tray and bake for one hour, they should be soft in the middle and a little caramelised on the outside. Once slightly cool, peel away the skin and weigh out 450g of potato flesh in a bowl, cover and let cool in the fridge.
  2. While the potato is cooling, make the pastry. Put the flour, icing sugar and salt in a food processor and blitz briefly to combine. Add the butter and pulse until rough breadcrumbs form. Pour in the egg yolks and water and pulse again. As soon as a ball of dough takes shape, stop the mixer. Pour the crumbly dough mixture onto a layer of cling film. Lift up the sides of the cling film and press together to create a round disc – be careful not to overwork it. Put the dough in the fridge to rest for half an hour (or overnight) while you make the filling.
  3. Clean the bowl of your food processor and add the sweet potato. Blitz for one minute to create a smooth puree. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and blitz again until smooth and silky, about one more minute and set aside. You can store the filling in the fridge for up to three days, just make sure to bring it back to room temperature before baking.
  4. Increase the oven temperature to 170°C/190°C fan. Roll out the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface, the dough needs to be large enough to cover your 9 inch pie plate with overhang. Put the dough in the pie plate and cut off a little of the overhang. Fold in the excess pastry to create a thicker lip around the pie. Use your thumb and index finger to crimp the edges, and then place the pie in the freezer for 30 minutes. Blind bake the dough for 30 minutes, remove the pie weights, then egg wash the pastry case and put back in the oven for 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Allow the case to cool slightly.
  5. Reduce the oven temperature to 160°C/180°C fan and foil the edges to prevent them from burning. Pour the sweet potato filling in the cooled pastry. Bake for 35 minutes, there should be the slightest wobble in the middle.
  6. To make the maple pecans, line a tray with greaseproof paper and set aside. Roughly chop the nuts and toast in a dry pan on low heat. Pour in the maple syrup, honey and cinnamon and let it bubble for 4-5 minutes until syrupy and sticky. Pour the nuts on the greaseproof paper, sprinkle with sea salt and leave to set.
  7. Serve a slice of the pie with a dollop of whipped cream, a sprinkling of maple pecans and a small drizzle of maple syrup.



Love Em xx

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