Thursday, December 23, 2004

All Brown Pies Are Not The Same | How to Convert a Tater Hater

Your average Sweet Potato Pie is a Pumpkin pie without the mushy texture -- or so I have been told. The truth is a little different, of course.

I once performed an act of kindness for a woman at work. As a reward, I was presented with the merest sliver of her mother's "famous" sweet potato pie. My astonishment was twofold - I had no idea people made pies out of sweet potatoes, and second, it was mighty tasty... And didn't taste like candied yams. It was subtle and, dare I say it, nuanced. It was the culinary equivalent of being kissed by an angel. It was pie as a religious experience. Sadly, I was denied the recipe. And denied a bigger slice to boot. Big meanie.

An idea was planted, nonetheless, and years later came to fruition.

So, for Thanksgiving, my sister, uncouth heathen that she is, requested candied yams. Now, being something of a royal shit, I couldn't just make candied yams. One, because I hate them, and two, because it just was beneath me. It just wouldn't do,you see. But candied yam pie? That has potential.

What follows is the recipe I concocted, or at least as much of the recipe that I could remember. I am no fan of the recipe concept, you see. Too many directions.

Anyhoo, this is what you'll need:

2 tbl Maple Syrup
1 tbl Bourbon (I used Jack -- on account of not wanting to waster the Maker's Mark on pie)
3 tbl Praline Liquor (I get mine from Schneider’s of Capitol Hill)
Sweet Potatoes (2 large ones should do)
1 Egg, slightly beaten
1/3 Brown Sugar (plus a little more for sprinkling)
1/4 regular sugar
1/3 cup of water
1 tbl butter
Mini Marshmallows
Pie Shell

I cheated and used a frozen pie shell. I'm lazy, what can I say. Make one from scratch if it turns your toes.

Bake the sweet potatoes in the oven for an hour at 400', or until fork tender. Set aside to cool. We'll come back to them. Go ahead and turn off the oven.

Half way through the sweet potatoes' baking cycle, get out a small pot and pour the 1/3 cup of water in and bring to a boil. Add the brown and white sugar and stir to mix. When the sugar dissolves and you get a nice syrup going, add the maple syrup, bourbon, and praline liquor. Add the butter and stir until it is melted and mixed. Set aside to cool.

If you have a frozen pie shell, now would be a good time to thaw.

Peel and mash the sweet potatoes. If you have a hand mixer, or, lucky you, a stand mixer, feel free to whip the taters for a lighter, fluffier pie.

Once we have the potatoes at a consistency you fancy, stir (or whip, natch) in the syrup made earlier. Now add the egg to bind it, so we don't have tater puree pie.

Bake for an hour at 400'. 10 minutes before the end, take it out and sprinkle with the mini marshmallows and more brown sugar. Stick it back in to finish for the last ten minutes, or until the marshmallows look golden brown and tasty.

Très savoureux, mon ami.

Feel free to modify the recipe(suggestion) as much as you like.

I made two of these. One I gave to my sister, and another that I took to a church gathering of sorts. There I encountered a man who was steadfast in his hatred of 'brown pies.' I begged him to try the pie (which was actually more of a reddish color really), and upon relenting, he discovered that his hatred of brown pie was foolish and silly. The pie was a flat out hit. Even the house full of Seventh Day Cultists loved it.

The Praline gives it a Pecan Pie flavor, and the Maple Syrup gives it a little 'Hey Now!' And the bourbon is in there nuance, baby. Enjoy.


At Thu Dec 23, 02:21:00 PM EST, Blogger J-Dog said...

Very funny writing, esp. the 7th Day Adventist comments, very true! I have a SDA friend who breaks the "excommunicate-able" rules but thinks I'm hellbound for going to church on Sunday.
Never had a good sweet potata pie...Praline Liquor sounds like the key.
Merry Christmas!

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