Thursday, December 3

sweet potato pecan pie

since thanksgiving was sort of a wash this year (probably best I was not responsible for preparing edibles for anyone else, anyway ::cough cough::), quameigh & dave hosted a bit of a do-over for friends in the area. dave made an unforgettable fried turkey (I see now why thousands of people risk burning their damned houses down every year), and a few delicious sides. the rest of the feast, and the delightful ukulele accompaniment was provided by the guests: a motley group of physicists (astro-, and otherwise), code-monkey entrepreneurs ... and us. the amazing food, fascinating chat (overheard while discussing reprogramming a linux-based webcam: "so did you hear that lecture professor so-and-so gave on the physics of rainbows?") and sing-along rendition of "tonight you belong to me" was a wonderful, memorable way to mark the season. it's only fitting, noting after the fact, that the token foodnetwork scienc-ie gastro-dweeb provided the recipe for our contribution. it is custardy and rich, without being tooth-achingly sweet, and the pecans give it a really wonderful, slightly sweet crunch.

sweet potato pecan pie
from my favorite culinary geek-wizard (second only to the especially nerdly bowtied pbs guy)

1 pound 3 ounces sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 1/4 cups plain yogurt (greek or bulgarian hippie-yogurt is perfect, if it's an on-hand staple)
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
5 egg yolks
1 (9-inch) deep dish, frozen pie shell (or one recipe pie crust, no need to blind-bake)
1 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1 tablespoon maple syrup

put cubed potatoes into steamer basket and place steamer basket into a large pot of simmering water that is no closer than 2 inches from the bottom of basket. allow to steam for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. mash and set aside. preheat oven to 350 degrees f. beat sweet potatoes with the paddle attachment of your hand or stand-mixer. add yogurt, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, yolks, and salt, to taste, and beat until well combined, then pour into pie shell and place onto sheet pan. sprinkle pecans on top and drizzle with maple syrup. bake for 50 to 55 minutes (or if your rent-house oven is as crappy as mine, until the custard reaches 165 to 180 degrees), then remove from oven and cool. refrigerate after cooling.

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