Just in time for Thanksgiving, here's a sweet potato pie recipe from Prospect Heights food writer Melissa Clark (of NYT's Good Appetite fame).
This pie works equally well with pumpkin, or even butternut squash. Clark, who happens to be my sister, makes the squash version of this pie every year on Thanksgiving, so I can vouch for it. The custardy filling is sweet (but not overly so) with a nice ginger bite. And the crust is simply the best I've ever tasted.
Sweet Potato Ginger Custard Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie, serves 8.
For the pie crust:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 to 5 tablespoons ice water
For the filling:
1 cup cooked sweet potato (or cooked pureed pumpkin or butternut squash)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
2/3 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons brandy
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
1. To make the crust, in a food processor, briefly pulse together the flour and salt. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms lima bean-size pieces (three to five 1-second pulses). Ad ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the mixture is just moist enough to hold together. Form the dough into a ball, wrap with plastic and flatten into a disc. Refrigerate at least 1 hour before rolling out.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the piecrust to a 12-inch circle. Transfer the crust to a 9-inch pie plate. Fold over any excess dough, then crimp as decoratively as you can manage.
3. Prick the crust all over with a fork. Freeze the crust for 15 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cover the pie with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights (you can us pennies, rice, or dried beans for this; I use pennies). Bake for 20 minutes; remove the foil and weights and bake until golden, about 5 to 10 minutes more. Cool on a rack until needed.
4. If you're using sweet potato, cut a slit into a large one and wrap tightly in foil. Bake at 400°F until sweet potato is very soft, about an hour. Let cool. Scoop 1 cup of cooked sweet potato into food processor, discarding skin. Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
5. Puree the sweet potato (or cooked pumpkin or butternut squash) in a food processor. Add all remaining filling ingredients and puree until smooth.
6. Spoon filling into pie crust and spread until flat and even. Place pie on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until the custard is mostly firm and set but jiggles slightly when moved, 45 to 55 minutes. Let cool to room temperature and serve with fresh whipped cream.