Jan here, and I'm so pleased to introduce you to Piper, our guest in the Cafe's kitchen today!
Take it away, Piper....
Aunt Cee’s Sweet Potato Pie
Look! The chair is empty and the remote control has been abandoned! It’s the one time of the year that DH is in the kitchen—he makes sweet potato pie for us!
Hello! I’m thrilled to guest in the Yankee-Belle Café today. A few months ago, I mentioned on Facebook that my husband makes his sweet potato pie for us for the holidays. Jan asked me to share it with you. I am happy to do so. A word of warning though: this is my husband’s recipe. I will come in and try to clarify as I can!
This recipe makes 4 pies.
I told you, this was a man’s recipe. Aunt Cee was not a man, but she made a lot of pie.
Sweet potatoes (8 or 9 medium sized ones)
Cinnamon (3 teaspoons)
A big bag of sugar (3 ½ to 4 cups about 2 pounds, but I always buy a new 5 lb. bag)
Nutmeg (2 teaspoons)
1 stick of butter (This is the same, ½ cup of butter, softened)
1 can of evaporated milk (Yes, the whole can—12 ounces)
3 eggs (No clarification needed here!)
Vanilla extract (3 teaspoons. It doesn't matter if it is pure or imitation vanilla extract)
4 regular sized graham cracker crusts or 3 of the larger sized graham cracker crusts
Have your wife boil the sweet potatoes. Go back to the comfy striped chair and watch SportsCenter or better yet, the James Bond Marathon.
(I get my biggest dutch oven pot and fit the potatoes down into it. Don’t be afraid to cut them if you need to, but keep the size of the potatoes in the medium range. The larger potatoes don’t have the sweetness and have more fibers in them! Cover with cold water and boil the potatoes until your sharpest knife slides easily through each potato. This can take up to two hours.)
Your wife should line up everything to put into the bowl with the cooked sweet potatoes:
When the potatoes are done, while they are unpeeled, run cold water over them. This makes them easier to handle, but you don’t want them to get cold. Fold up two or three wadded up paper towels to grab the slightly cooled potato to peel away skins with a paring knife. The skins come off easily because of the boiling process. Put the potatoes into a big bowl (or if you have a mixer like Thor, he can do this job as well. It would be a little overwhelming for Miss Edna.) Throw the skins away.
Pour the entire can of evaporated milk in the bowl.
Put the stick of softened butter in the bowl
Crack the three eggs in the bowl with the mixture. So in the bowl, you have potatoes, milk, butter and eggs.
Call in your husband. Make sure nothing important is on tv, but it is a crucial time, because the potatoes need to remain hot.
If you don’t have Thor the mixer to take care of this next step, then you can use a hand mixer. If the potatoes are hot, the “strings” of the sweet potatoes will come off on the beaters rather than stay in with the pie.
Start mixing. While mixing, have your wife put in the sugar, a cup at a time, the vanilla, sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg in. Put in 3 ½ cups of sugar and taste.
(Umm. This is disgusting because of the raw eggs and salmonella danger, but DH swears by this step. It lets him know if we have a sweet batch of potatoes, and if you need the other ½ cup of sugar or not. Whatever, I would just put in the 4 cups and take my chances.)
The mixture should look like this:
Note the color. There is something about the color that is the Holy Grail, DH says. I am not sure what it is, but I took a picture of it to show you. Also note: someone watched a little too much of Dr. No or something because the mixture is a little lumpier than usual. That’s okay, it will still be good, but it is a warning not to let the potatoes cool too much!
Go back and finish Dr. No and hope you didn’t miss the part with Ursula Andress in it.
Divide the mixture between your 4 pie shells. You want a nice high pie. It takes about 4 big cooking-spoon sized spoonfuls to fill the pie shells. Spread the mixture with the spatula in each pie to even it out for baking. If you have a little extra you can still divide it between the 4 pie shells. It won’t spill over.
You can also make sweet potatoes pancakes or muffins or bread with the extra, but I do like all the mixture to go into the pies. Sometimes we give the pies as gifts and you want people to see they’ve received a nice-sized pie.
Put the four pies into a 350 degree oven. They take about an hour and a half to cook. The top should be set firm with a little slight browning on top. If you take them out too soon, the filling will crack. It will be good, but who wants a cracked pie top? See here:
That little browned part in the middle of the pie let’s you know it is done. If you don’t like the looks of it, you can pull it off and taste it. Ahhh. It’s cooked now.
Let the pies cool in the refrigerator. The plastic shell that came with the crusts makes a nice cover for the pie once you remove all the paper and the glue inside of it. Just top with a bow for gift giving.
My Dad got a little sneak peek—he deserves it!
Merry Christmas and Enjoy!
Jan here again. Don't those pies look fabulous? And here's a bit about our guest:
Piper G Huguley is the author of Migrations of the Heart, a five-book series of inspirational historical romances set in the early 20th century featuring African American characters. Book four in the series, A Champion’s Heart, was a Golden Heart finalist in 2013. Book one in her new historical series Home to Milford College was a semi-finalist in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest.
She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.