Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sweet Potumpcan Pie


            Thanksgiving is about spending time with our families and stuffing ourselves to the brim with comfort foods. It’s the one holiday of the year where it is more than acceptable to enjoy multiple desserts, because at my house there are at least 3 available choices. Gluttony is sin all the time; I’m a sinner especially this one day of the year.
My problem is that after all the wonderful turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, sautéed Brussels sprouts with bacon, roasted sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, more turkey and the inevitable digestive-waiting period between dinner and dessert, who the hell has room for pie? Who has room for even a little of everything?
            I set off to correct this little problem. This year at work my co-workers and I competed with each other in a pumpkin pie-baking contest. I invented this recipe to combine my three favorite Thanksgiving fare pies. The result is an awesome parfait of sweet potato, pumpkin, and pecan pies.
            At first glance it looks complicated, littered with a million details, but don’t be intimidated. Each filling takes less than five minutes to whip up and many of the ingredients simply repeat. I make piecrust from scratch so I can specify the flavor, but store bought crust is always a superb shortcut.

Crust:
2 ¼ cups all purpose white flour
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted COLD butter
1 tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp spiced rum
6-8 tsp ice water

1.      Combine flour, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Cube the chilled butter and combine with the flour with a pastry blender until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
2.     Pour 8 tsp of water over an ice cube in a cup. Add the maple syrup and rum to the same cup. Stir. Add one tsp of the wet mixture to the flour/butter mixture at time (stirring with a fork in between) until the crust reaches your desired consistency.
3.     Roll finished dough between two sheets of wax paper to even ¼ of an inch thickness. Place in a prepared glass pie dish 9-10” in diameter. Trim the edges of excess, then shape your edges to fluted pattern or pressed with a fork. Prick the bottom of the pie shell with a fork many, many times before baking.
4.     Line the piecrust with parchment paper; fill the paper with 2 cups dry beans. This keeps the crust flat while pre-baking. Bake the piecrust at 350° for 15 minutes.

Sweet Potato Filling:

2 cups mashed sweet potatoes (I roasted mine in butter for 40 minutes at 350° before hand, cool to room temp to avoid scrambling the eggs)
6 oz sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp clove
½ tsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
¾ tsp salt

1.    Throw all ingredients into a bowl, and then mix with an electric mixer on medium speed until everything is combined, about 4-5 minutes.
2.      Pour into the piecrust (now out of the oven and sans beans).

Pumpkin Filling:
7.5 oz (½ can) unsweetened pumpkin puree
6-7 oz  (1/2 can) evaporated milk
1 egg
¾ cup white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ginger
1/8 tsp clove
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/8 tsp nutmeg

1.     Throw all ingredients into a bowl mix with an electric mixer on medium speed until everything is combined, about 4-5 minutes.
2.    Pour into the piecrust over the top the sweet potato filling. The pumpkin filling is much less dense and will simply float.
3.      Place back in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes.

Pecan filling:
1 cup raw pecan halves (chopped or left whole to preference)
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/3 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 beaten egg
Pinch of salt

1.     Combine in a bowl and whisk by hand until everything is combined.
2.     When the pie has baked for 20 minutes, remove from the oven. Using a spoon scoop the pecan topping and arrange on top of the pie in five lines coming out from the center, leaving spaces between for marshmallows.
3.      Bake again at 350° for 25 more minutes.
4.     After 25 minutes remove from the oven. In the gaps place mini marshmallows. Return to the oven for 5 more minutes, just enough to start melting the marshmallows.
5.     To achieve a toasted marshmallow look and flavor use a culinary torch.
6.      The pie must rest for at least an hour before serving.


When serving slice so that each piece is half pecan topping, half marshmallow topping. Three pies in every bite never tasted so delectable. It’s safe to say I solved my “problem”. I’m thankful for my family, having a roof over my head, a job I love, and creative problem solving. Have a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving.


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