Tom and Maggie’s sweet potato pie in lieu of pumpkin
We’ve been making Thanksgiving dinner together for oh so many years — ever since we were in college in Paris. Since the pumpkin in France was always too watery, no matter what method of cooking we used and what type of pumpkin, we decided to use sweet potatoes, which give a much more predictable and reliable result, which is absolutely necessary when preparing a Thanksgiving feast for a crowd of 20 or 30 convives. In addition, we’ve grown to like it better (perhaps because we know it will always set, unlike pumpkin?).
Maggie’s sure-fire short or flaky pie crust
250 g flour (farine patissière)
125 g butter (room temperature)
Pinch of salt
Place flour and salt in mixing bowl. Mix well. Chop butter into large lumps and add to flour.
Use pastry cutter (or two knives) to chop butter into small bits.
For short pastry: Continue until flour and butter have texture of fine bread crumbs.
For flaky pastry: Stop when texture is that of large bread crumbs (the flakes are caused by pockets of melting butter, so lumps must be bigger).
Add cold water, tablespoon by tablespoon, mixing all the while with a knife. Mix until dough sticks together but not to hands or bowl–not too much water. Proceed carefully.
Turn out on lightly floured board and knead lightly. Roll with rolling pin to required shape.Avoid contact with hands inasmuch as possible–butter should not melt before going into the oven.
Keep mixing and kneading to a minimum of gestures. Do not overwork.
Tom’s sweet potato pie filling
(for 9-inch or 22 cm pie pan)
2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes (patates douces)
2 well-beaten eggs
1-1/4 cups milk
3/4 cup brown sugar (cassonade or sucre de canne brut)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
4 tbsp vegetable oil
Bake two medium to large sweet potatoes at 220°C until perfectly cooked and soft (a knife should encounter little resistance). Let cool to room temperature and remove peel. (Two sweet potatoes should be more than enough to get two cups–one will do if it’s big enough.)
Heat oven again to 220°C.
Line pie pan and pre-cook pastry 10 minutes or until edges are beginning to turn darker in color. Remove from oven.
Put 2 cups of baked sweet potato into a large mixing bowl. Add other ingredients and beat until smooth.
Pour mixture into pie pan. Bake 10 minutes at 220°C, then reduce heat to 150°C and cook 50 minutes or until filling is firm and starting to darken on top.
These are obviously American measurements. Refer to “How to convert measurements for American recipes” for metric conversions.