Categories
Sweets

Maple Pecan Sweet Potato Pie

Last Thursday we made pie crust. Today we’re filling it. Next Thursday we shall feast! I have been working on the recipe for this sweet potato pie for a couple weeks now, and I think it will make a beautiful addition to any Thanksgiving table (even if it’s just a Party of One, Two or Three. No shame in gorging on a whole pie). For extra fanciness, use purple sweet potatoes. For extra craziness, arrange pecans in concentric circles, in honor of my friend Lauren, the patron saint of painstakingly measuring things to make holiday treats.

Makes: 1 pie

Equipment

  • pie dish
  • stand mixer or electric mixer

Ingredients

  • 1 single pie crust

For Sweet Potato Mixture

  • 2 largeish sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

For Pecan Mixture

  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

Step-by-step

  • Roast sweet potatoes. Preheat oven to 425°F. Rub a small amount of olive oil onto potato skins, prick potatoes with a fork three or four times, and roast for 45 minutes to one hour, until a fork easily slides into the potatoes. This step can be done ahead. 
  • Preheat (or lower oven temp) to 350°F.
  • Roll out pie crust and place in pie dish. Do something pretty with the crust edges 🌟 Place in fridge while the filling is prepped. (Check out my recipe for making and rolling out pie dough.)
  • Remove potato skins (they should come off easily after roasting). Mash potatoes with stand mixer or electric mixer until smooth. Add other sweet potato filling ingredients and mix until well-combined, about a minute. Taste mixture and add more spices or adjust flavor as needed.
  • Fill pie crust with potato mixture, then top with pecans. 
  • Whisk together remaining pecan mixture ingredients. Pour over top of pie.
  • Bake for about one hour, until top of pie is caramelized. Check halfway through the bake to see if the top is browning too fast. If so, place a sheet of aluminum foil over the top of pie for the remainder of the bake.
Categories
Sweets

Whole Wheat Pie Crust

Being able to make a pie from scratch should be a requirement for graduating from high school (Why did they stop teaching home ec classes? 😡) . Here is a simple, whole wheat pie crust recipe that you can use for whatever pie your heart desires. You don’t have to use whole wheat flour, but the flavor will be better, and we gotta sneak in that fiber wherever we can! Next week I’ll be featuring a Maple Sweet Potato Pecan Pie recipe, so think of this as part one.

The most important thing to remember when making pie crust is to work fast and keep everything very cold. Some folks go a lot further in this department by prefreezing the flour and butter cubes, but this feels overly fussy to me. As long as you keep the butter cold enough so that it is visibly flecked throughout the dough, you’ll end up with a lovely flaky crust. The easiest way to do this is to start with very cold butter and work fast so that the warmth of your hands doesn’t melt the butter.

Makes: 1 single crust

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (if you can have access to whole wheat pastry flour, use that)
  • 1 cold stick of butter
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • big pinch sugar
  • ice water
  • extra flour for rolling out dough

Step-by-step

  • Add a few ice cubes to 1/4 cup water. Set aside.
  • Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  • Cut cold butter (straight from the fridge) into 1/2 inch cubes. Add to flour and toss to coat cubes in flour.
  • Working quickly and confidently, use both hands to work butter into flour. Pinch butter with your fingers and mix continuously until butter pieces are pea-sized and uniformly flecked throughout the flour.
  • Measure out 1/4 cup ice water (no ice cubes) and pour into flour-butter mixture. Working quickly, mix by hand, kneading until the dough is hydrated and comes together, this should take well under a minute.
  • Form dough into a disc, wrap in Bee’s Wrap or plastic wrap and allow to cool in the fridge for at least one hour or up to a day or two.
  • To roll out dough, unwrap dough and place on work surface. Generously flour the surface and the dough. 
  • Using a rolling pin (or wine bottle!), start at the middle of the dough and roll out to the edge in every direction. Flour and flip the dough every so often, so that it doesn’t stick to the counter. Keep rolling out the dough, working from the middle outwards until it is about a 1/4 inch in thickness throughout and the right shape and size for the pie dish. Clean up the edges and drape into the pie dish. 
  • To bake blind (without pie filling), place a  piece of parchment paper on top of the crust, so that it that goes up the sides and fill at least 1/2 inch up with dried beans or rice* to weigh down the dough. Baking the crust with a weight on top like this will keep the crust from forming bubbles and cracks as it bakes. Place in fridge or freezer and preheat over to 350°F. Bake for about 30 minutes, then allow to cool and fill as directed. Otherwise, add pie filling to raw dough and bake as specified in the recipe.

Notes

*Save the rice or beans afterwards for the next time you make pie! You can use them over and over again.
Categories
Savories

Rustic Zucchini and Apple Crostata

This was a fridge cleanout creation. I needed to use up a few random bits before heading off on a leaf-peeping trip to North Carolina. The prospect of those fall colors must be taking over my brain because the result is wonderfully autumnal.

Ingredients

For the pastry crust:

  • 1 stick very cold butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups flour, plus extra for rolling out dough (whole wheat pastry is great, but whatever you have on hand will work)
  • big pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup ice cold water

For the filling:

  • 1 apple, thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated hard cheese of choice (parm, cheddar, gruyere, etc)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • big pinch salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped herbs of choice (sage, rosemary, parsley, etc)
  • honey for drizzling

Step-by-step

  • To make pastry dough, mix flour and salt in a bowl. Add butter cubes and work in by hand. Aggressively pinch and mix with your fingers until the butter is roughly the size of peas. Try to work fast to keep everything as cold as possible.
  • Pour in water, mixing by hand to create a uniform dough. Depending on the flour used, you may need a bit more water or a bit more flour to achieve the right consistency, which should be smooth, firm and fully hydrated, but not tacky. Shape dough into a thick disc.
  • Allow dough to rest covered in the fridge while prepping the filling. You can also make dough in advance. It will keep in the fridge for several days.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Mix together all filling ingredients but the honey so the veggies are uniformly coated.
  • To roll out pastry crust, generously flour work surface and dough. Use a rolling pin to flatten, working from the middle toward the edges in every direction. Flip the dough over and continuously dust with flour, so nothing sticks to the counter. (Or do like my mother and roll the dough out in between two pieces of wax paper!). The goal is a rough circle about a 1/4 inch thick. I often get very uneven jagged edges, which I just rip off and smoosh in where necessary to form a circle-ish shape.
  • To assemble, place the rolled out pastry dough on a parchment or Silpat-lined baking sheet. Add filling in the middle of the circle, leaving an inch border of dough. Drizzle with honey. Fold dough border over on top of the filling.
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes until the crust is brown and the zucchini and apple are softened and browning at the edges.