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Carolina Sweet Potato Pie

This image courtesy of Colin Ericcson

I once knew a family of Carolinians who moved from the South to New York City many years ago. No doubt because of their Southern roots, these folks always called sweet potatoes “Carolinas.” This is the pie they made every Thanksgiving, which I think is the best sweet potato pie I have ever tasted. Serve it with unsweetened whipped cream.

Tip

If time is not a factor, cook the sweet potatoes whole, in their skins, for maximum flavor.

Cooking Methodbaking

CostInexpensive

Total Timehalf-day

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursedessert

Dietary Considerationpeanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Equipmentelectric mixer

Taste and Texturespiced, sweet

Type of Dishdessert, pie

Ingredients

  • 9-inch (23 cm) pie plate
  • Handheld blender or electric mixer
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 500 mL
  • ¼ tsp salt 1 mL
  • ½ cup lard or vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into small pieces 125 mL
  • 5 tbsp butter, chilled and cut into small pieces 75 mL
  • ¼ cup ice water 60 mL
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten 
  • 2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks 1 kg
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar 250 mL
  • 3 tbsp granulated sugar 45 mL
  • ¼ lb butter, softened 125 g
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon 5 mL
  • ½ tsp salt 2 mL
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger 1 mL
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg 1 mL
  • 3 large eggs, separated 
  • Finely grated zest of 1 small orange
  • ½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice 125 mL
  • ½ cup table (18%) cream 125 mL

Instructions

  1. Pastry: In a bowl, combine flour and salt. Using a pastry blender or a large fork, cut in lard and butter until mixture is crumbly. In a small bowl, whisk together ice water and egg, then stir a little more than half into flour mixture until blended into a dough (add more egg mixture if dough still looks too crumbly and does not hold together when pressed between your fingers). Divide dough in half and gently flatten each portion into a disk. Wrap separately in plastic wrap and refrigerate one disk for about 2 hours. (Freeze second disk for another use. Uncooked pastry can be frozen for up to 3 months if properly wrapped and sealed.)

  2. When you’re ready to cook, preheat oven to 425°F (220°C). On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough to fit pie plate. Transfer to pie plate, trimming the edges. Set aside.

  3. Filling: Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and add cold water to barely cover. Cover loosely and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until potatoes are just tender. Drain well. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for 1 to 2 minutes. Using a potato masher, mash. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, butter, cinnamon, salt, ginger and nutmeg and mash until blended. In a separate bowl, thoroughly whisk egg yolks. Using a wooden spoon, beat into mashed sweet potatoes along with orange zest, orange juice and cream until blended.

  4. In another bowl, using a handheld blender, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold into sweet potato mixture (do not overmix), Scrape into pie shell, gently smoothing top. Bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F (180°C) and bake for about 35 minutes or until filling is puffed, crust is golden and a tester inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

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