January 31, 2011

No. 5 - Sweet Potato Pie

With Valentine's Day just two weeks away, maybe you're starting to think about a special dinner, dessert, or gift for the love of your life.  I told my husband "I'm making a sweet tater pie for my sweet tater."  He answered by asking "who's your sweet tater?"  Oh well, I tried.  He also added that if I keep making pies, he may end up looking like a sweet potato. 

Sweet Potato Pie topped with sweetened cream

As I've mentioned before, I'm trying to use readily available ingredients and seasonal fruits in my weekly pies.  This week I found I had all the ingredients needed for Sweet Potato Pie.  (Oops - not pictured - whole buttermilk)  Buttermilk, or milk in general, is not my favorite thing but Traveling Husband loves it.  Buttermilk does not go to waste in our house.  Make sure you have baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, sugar, eggs, butter, sweet potatoes and an unbaked Pie Pastry.

Peel your sweet potatoes.  For one pie you will need 1 1/2 cups mashed.

Slice the potatoes.

And boil in water enough to cover the potatoes until fork tender.

While the potatoes are cooking, combine the spices and mix with the sugar and baking powder (don't add the baking soda yet.)

When the potatoes are cooked, drain them well in a colander.

Return the drained potatoes to the pot and add the butter.  Using a mixer, beat the potatoes removing any strings that are in the beaters. 

Now measure your buttermilk and mix in the baking soda. 

Beat the eggs with the mixer.

Beat until the eggs are frothy.

Add the buttermilk / baking soda mixture to the sugar and spices.

Also add in the beaten eggs.

Pour in the cooked sweet potatoes and butter.

Using a mixer, blend well until all ingredients are incorporated.

Don't over beat the mixture, just until well blended ...

... and smooth.

I was just having fun taking photos!

Pour the mixture into the unbaked pastry shell.

Looking good!

I had extra dough when I made this pie crust so I cut out small hearts.  I brushed the tops of the crust cookies with milk and sprinkled on sugar and cinnamon.  Bake them with the pie but not as long.  You'll need to check these in 15 minutes or so.  Remove the crust cookies when browned.

We're going with the sweet heart - sweet tater theme this week!

In about a hour you will have a lovely puffed sweet potato pie.

As the pie cools, the filling will settle.

You can decorate if you want or leave plain.

I served the pie with sweetened cream and a couple of heart crust cookies.
Enjoy this simple but tasty pie, and don't forget to share with someone you love.

Sweet Potato Pie
(Adapted from a recipe found on Tasty Kitchen)

1 1/2 cups hot mashed sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup buttermilk (whole fat)
2 eggs
1 Unbaked Single Pie Pastry

Peel and slice sweet potatoes.  Boil until fork tender, drain in colander.  Add the potatoes back into the pot and add butter.  Blend with a mixer until mashed.  Remove any strings on the beaters.  In a large mixing bowl, combine the spices with the sugar and baking powder.  Add the baking soda to the buttermilk and stir well.  In a small bowl, beat eggs until frothy.  Add the eggs, buttermilk mixture and sweet potatoes to the sugar spice mixture.  Blend with a mixer until smooth and creamy. 
Pour into a uncooked pie crust and place in a 400-degree preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 300 degrees and bake for about 45 minutes longer.  Serve with sweetened cream if desired.


Thanks for stopping by!  Happy baking.


January 28, 2011

Pastry for Single or Double Crust Pies

Pastry for single-crust pie, baked or unbaked, and double crust pie instructions:

Since I've been making a lot of pies (pie crusts), I thought it would be easier to put all pie crust tutorials in one place.  The recipes are at the bottom but scroll through for tips on making a single unbaked crust, a single baked crust, a lattice top double crust, and a simple double crust pastry.  Most of all - have fun!

You'll need flour, salt, ice water, a small amount of white vinegar,
shortening, a rolling pin, pastry cutter and measuring spoons.

Blend the flour and salt together.  Add shortening.

Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas.

This is a dishwasher safe pastry blender.
You can find them at any Target or WalMart in the kitchen section.

Add the water / vinegar mixture all at once.

Once it forms a ball, place it in the freezer for about 10 minutes.

Place the dough ball on a lightly floured surface.

Roll out starting in the middle until the dough is smooth and a little larger than the pie plate.

Fold the dough in half ...

... and then in half again.

Place the dough in the pie plate with the point in the middle.

Gently and slowly unfold the pastry.

Make sure it is centered.  Do not stretch the dough if possible

Trim the excess to about 1 inch all the way around. 
I use kitchen scissors to make it easy and even.
Fold the excess under and pinch to seal.

You can crimp the edges by pinching the dough.

I have some sort of double pinch method that seems to work.
This crust is now ready to fill if the recipe calls for a single unbaked pie crust.

If the pie recipe calls for a baked crust, prick the bottom and sides with a fork to prevent bubbling up.

Bake the crust in a preheated 450 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes.

Double Crust - Lattice Top

For a double crust pie with a lattice top, fit the bottom crust as noted above, but do not crimp the edges until the top crust is in place.  Roll out the top half of the dough and using a ruler or straight edge, cut the dough in strips at whatever width you prefer.  No rules just make them somewhat uniform in size.

Start by taking the middle strips and place them across the top of the pie.

Weave the strips together starting with only a few.

Add strips one at a time weaving as you go.

Fold back the strips that will be on top.  Then fold them over the strip you added.

Keep going until you reach the sides.  Trim the edges and fold them under.
Wet your fingers with left over vinegar water when folding the edges under.  This will help them seal together.
Crimp the edges as desired.

Double Crust - Simple Top

Roll the top dough out in a circle large enough to cover pie.  Cut a vent in the middle for steam.  Fold the crust in half and then in half again.  Place the top crust over the filling and unfold.  Trim the edges to about inch beyond the side, fold the top crust under the bottom crust edge and seal.  You can use vinegar water on your fingers to help seal the two together.  This is especially important when there will be syrup bubbling from the fruit filling.  This helps keep the juice inside the pie.  You can cut designs to place on top or use cookie cutters.  Brush a little milk on the crust and sprinkle with sugar.

The milk helps the crust brown nicely.

Pastry for Single-Crust Pie
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
7 tablespoons ice cold water
1 teaspoon white vinegar

Mix vinegar in a small bowl of ice water.  In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour and salt.  Cut in shortening till pieces are the size of small peas.  Sprinkle 7 tablespoons of the water /vinegar mixture on the flour and shortening; gently toss with a fork. 

Tricia's Tip:  add the water all at once and use the least amount of stirring possible to get all the flour mixture moistened.  Don't overwork the dough - stir with a fork just until it forms a ball.  Put the dough in the freezer for 10 minutes.

On a lightly floured surface flatten dough with hands.  Roll dough from center to edge, forming a circle about 12 inches in diameter (or 1 inch or more larger than your pie plate inverted for measuring purposes.)  Fold the dough in half and then in half again so it is 1/4 of the original circle.  Unfold onto a 9-inch pie plate.  Ease pastry into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry.  Trim to 1 inch beyond edge of pie plate; fold under extra pastry.  Make a fluted, rope-shaped, or scalloped edge.  Bake as directed in individual recipe.

Pastry for Double-Crust Pie

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups shortening or lard
10 -12 tablespoons ice water
2 teaspoons vinegar mixed in with the ice water

Stir together flour and salt.  Cut in shortening until pieces are the size of small peas.
Sprinkle with water and incorporate until soft dough forms.  Divide in half and roll out on floured surface.
Fit into pie plate, trim edges, fill with fruit and fit top crust.  Fold extra pastry under bottom crust; flute edge.  Bake!

Please let me hear from you if you have questions or comments.  Thanks for stopping by!  Tricia
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