Welcome cooler temps with a sweet potato pie

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Betty Williams Columnist, The Friday Flyer

Betty Williams
Columnist, The Friday Flyer

Can you believe it? The temperature has finally dipped below 90 degrees in our corner of the world and it actually has started to feel like fall. Well, fall in Southern California terms. That means in the mornings we need to wear a sweater over our tank top and longer yoga pants. But flip flops are still okay.

I have the Yahoo Weather app on my phone. It is so handy to see what our weather is going to be for the next few days, but I also like to peek at what the weather is like for relatives, friends and extended family in New York City, Portland, London, Budapest and Istanbul.

Living vicariously through the weather app, I relish reading about the chilly temperatures, thunderstorms and gusty winds in other parts of the world. At the same time, I try to imagine what relatives and friends are doing, what they are wearing (Wool turtlenecks! Long pants! Tall boots!), and what they are eating that day.

Something else I just love are the photos featured on the Yahoo Weather app. It is one thing to read about the weather in New York City, but to see the Empire State Building with raindrops coming down really adds to the weather experience.

By the way, I implore some of the wonderful photographers in our community to please, please, please submit their photos of Canyon Lake to the app. We are very under-represented on the Yahoo Weather app, with only two, maybe three, photos of our lovely city.

But all that to say I am enjoying our cooler temps and misty mornings. It is getting me in the mood for baking once again and I am looking forward to cooking for the upcoming holidays. Say whaaaat? Yes, friends, Thanksgiving is just two weeks away.

Haven’t you noticed the avalanche of all things pumpkin spice? Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Pumpkin Spice Oreos and Pumpkin Spice M&Ms. But then there are the more sinister things like Pumpkin Spice dog treats, Pumpkin Spice cat litter, and Pumpkin Spice foot powder. Ugh. It’s enough to make me want to move somewhere else on the Yahoo Weather app.

While I enjoy pumpkin pie, I decided not to succumb to pumpkin anything right now. Call me a kitchen rebel, but just to spite the pumpkin spice gods, I decided to bake something else: Sweet Potato Pie.

Especially popular in the South, sweet potato pie is an all-American dessert. This recipe is adapted from one I found in “Taste of Home” magazine. It is milk-free, but because it does have butter it isn’t completely dairy-free. It also contains a little bit of booze, something every holiday pie can benefit from. Enjoy our cooler days as you prepare for the holidays ahead.

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

Pastry Dough:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup cold butter

3 to 5 Tbsp. ice water

Filling:

1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp. baking powder

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 Tbsp. brandy

In a bowl, combine flour and salt. Cut in butter until crumbly. Gradually add ice water, a tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork until dough hold together when pressed. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 1 hour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll pastry dough to 1/8 inch thick circle; transfer to a 9-inch pie pan. Trim pastry to 1/2 inch beyond rim of pan; flute edge. Refrigerate 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Meanwhile, place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan; add water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cook, uncovered 15 to 18 minutes or until tender. Drain well; return to pot. Mash potatoes until smooth.

In a bowl, beat butter, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking powder. Beat in eggs, sweet potatoes and vanilla extract. Stir in brandy. Add filling to crust. Bake on a middle oven rack 50 minutes or until center is set and a knife inserted comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack; serve or refrigerate within 2 hours.

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Betty Williams