Our theme for Thanksgiving this year was Cajun food, so to round out our menu, I decided to add a Sweet Potato pie alongside a pumpkin and chocolate chip pecan pie for dessert. Now, if I have made a Sweet Potato Pie, I do not remember it. From everything I read, a TRUE Sweet Potato pie does not taste like a pumpkin pie and it will convert you from its more traditional and popular counterpart. Keeping this in mind, I disregarded any recipe that seemed pumpkin pie in nature. For a true Southern influenced recipe, I turned to my favorite pie recipe book, Sweety Pies, written by Patty Pinner. However, I read in her prologue that she grew up in Saginaw, Michigan. I almost chose the recipe that was featured in Southern Living's Thanksgiving 2010 edition, but something kept calling me back to Patty's submitted recipe. If you do not have this book (Sweety Pies), I highly recommend it. It is full of wonderful stories of the women the wonderful recipes belong to.
Sweet Potato Pie (Cousin Caldin's Rendition)
One 9-inch single flaky pie crust, rolled out, fitted into a pie plate, and edge trimmed and crimped
3 hand-sized sweet potatoes
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 tsp. lemon extract
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 stick) melted unsalted butter
1/2 cup evaporated milk
Makes one 9-inch pie
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the pie crust and set aside.
Place the potatoes in a medium-size saucepan, cover generously with water, bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender. Drain and, when they've cooled enough to handle, peel and mash them in a large bowl until there are no lumps remaining. Using a fork, remove any strings from the filling. (If you are using an electric mixer, remove any strings that might have collected around the beaters.) Add the eggs, sugar, lemon extract, salt, and nutmeg and beat together until thoroughly blended and smooth. Add the melted butter and evaporated milk and beat until creamy. Pour filling in to the pie crust.
Place the pie in the oven and bake until the center is set (it shouldn't jiggle when the pie is rocked back and forth) and the crust is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Let the pie cool complete on a wire rack.
I did add a Southern Living touch to my Sweet Pie's pie. I added a marshmallow meringue. I used a recipe adapted from Allrecipes, not the one from SL magazine, but it was my inspiration.
The pie turned out beautifully, It was minimal fuss to make. Well worth the efforts! It tasted light and creamy. I loved it! The pie does have a noticeable lemon-flavor, so if you do not care for lemon, you may want to adjust the extract to your taste. I would not eliminate the lemon extract, because it does bring out the flavor of the sweet potato. This pie is now one of my favorites and yes, it did replace pumpkin on the list. I just loved the taste of it.
While you do not have to add the meringue (the pie tastes great on its own), I thought it added a beautiful touch to the pie and a nice complimentary texture. Definitely, a great way to dress it up to gift to someone, too!
I used one of my grandmother's old pie plates to make this pie in. While, I had great recipes to work with, I am sure her plate added that special and magic touch to my pie. I rarely make a pie and not think of her. I see her with her apron on, her rolling pin and mat laying across her wood table, and she is spinning the pie plate as she trims the crust. She will always be my number one culinary idol.