As I sat down to write this post, I thought of opening with something like “Fall is, without a doubt, the best time for pies.” But as I typed it, I got to thinking about berry pies, cherry pies, rhubarb pies, and all the others that shine with summer’s freshest bounty. Then, of course, there are all the fantastic cream pies of the world–coconut, banana, and French silk–all of which don’t really have a season. In short, my opening line was decidedly untrue and got deleted. After all, who would ever, at any time, argue with a great pie?
This sweet potato pie was definitely a hit. After my adaptations and some taste testing, I decided it really would make a wonderful addition to any Thanksgiving table. Much like pumpkin pie, you can make it the day before and it will be just as good (or better!) on Thanksgiving. It’s an award winning recipe from the 2007 National Pie Championship and I can see why. The cream cheese layer hidden on the bottom gives the slightest bit of tangy flavor and the sweet potato layer is light and fluffy. I used my all-time favorite, no fail pie crust recipe, but I’m sure the shortening-based one in the recipe would also be great. I mean, a pie isn’t going to win a national championship without a stellar crust, right? I changed up the garnishes for a simple ring of toasted pecans, but the original recipe calls for a drizzle of cream cheese icing and some piped whipped cream. Pure holiday decadence.
I picked this pie from the pages and pages of stellar options in America’s Best Harvest Pies written by the American Pie Council and Linda Hoskins. The cookbook is packed with creative and outstanding recipes from the some of the best amateur and professional bakers in the country. The recipes range from straightforward, single-fruit pies to layered pies to creamy, nutty, layered pies and I can honestly say I’d be game for trying nearly every one of them.
If you’d like to expand your pie repertoire, you’re in luck! Skyhorse Publishing has generously provided a copy of this cookbook, along with Monica Holland’s Lick the Bowl Good, which will have you wanting to lick not only the bowl, but also the page the recipe is on. It’s where I got the recipe for pecan pie mini cupcakes and the reason my baking list went from possibly manageable in this lifetime to “I’d better bake everyday for the rest of my life if I want to get through all these recipes!” I truly cannot say enough great things about it. And guess what? You can win BOTH of these great books just by completing the following steps:
1. Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite kind of pie.
2. Like Apple a Day on facebook then come back here to tell me you’ve done so. If you already like me, thank you! Just leave a note letting me know and I’ll count it as an entry.
4. Follow Apple a Day on Instragram (@appleadayblog) and comment here letting me know you’re now following. If you’re already in touch with me through Instagram, just let me know.
5. Follow Apple a Day on Pinterest. Leave a comment on this post telling me you’ve done so or that you are already a follower.
Each one of these counts as a separate entry and you have from now until midnight next Tuesday, November 26th to enter. I’ll choose a winner using a random integer generator next Wednesday and let you know via e-mail. Sorry, but this giveaway is open to US residents only. Good luck!
Maple Sweet Potato Pie
adapted from America’s Best Harvest Pies
1/2 recipe pie crust (this is my favorite)
Cream cheese layer:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1/4 c. granulated sugar
1 egg white
2 TBSP pecans or walnuts, chopped
For the filling:
2 c. cooked mashed sweet potato
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/4 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. maple syrup
1/2 c. evaporated milk
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 c. pecan or walnut halves, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 425° F and place a rack in the center position.
2. To make the cream cheese layer, beat together cream cheese, sugar, and egg white in a medium bowl. Set aside.
3. For the sweet potato filling, use a handheld or stand mixer to stir together all ingredients except nuts. Set aside.
4. To assemble the pie, use a rolling pin to transfer pie dough to dish. Gently press down into the edges. Trim excess and decoratively crimp edges, if desired. Sprinkle chopped nuts into bottom of the pie crust. Pour cream cheese mixture on top and use a rubber spatula to gently spread the mixture to the edges. Carefully pour sweet potato mixture on top.
5. Place the pie dish on a rimmed baking sheet and put it in the oven to bake at 425° F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350° F and cook until center is set and edges are nicely browned, 30-40 minutes more. If edges become too brown, cover with foil. When cooked, place pie on a wire rack to cool. While still hot, garnish with nuts, if desired, pressing slightly so they will stick. Let pie cool to room temperature, then place in the refrigerator to cool. Keeps 3 days, covered and refrigerated.
Yield: 8 servings
*Skyhorse Publishing provided me with a copy of each cookbook to review, but did not compensate me otherwise. All opinions inclded in this post are my own.