Recipe Friday: Sweet Potato Pie

Here’s an idea for a Christmas treat: sweet potato pie. I came up with this recipe because one of my food sensitivities is pumpkin (sad, right?).

But sweet potatoes make a great substitute. And, sweet potatoes are loaded with health benefits like fiber and lots of nutrients. So that I don’t boil away nutrients, I bake my sweet potatoes, then scoop out the flesh. I used 3 good-size sweet potatoes, which made for more than 2 cups. I used the extra as a side dish.

But the best thing about this pie is that it’s quite delicious. I like plenty of spice in my pie, and this recipe fits me perfectly. But you can go up or down on the amount, according to your taste.

For sweetener, I used sucanat, an unprocessed cane sugar. Palm coconut sugar would also be good, I think. If you don’t have these, regular sugar or brown sugar would be fine. When I made this pie recently, I used ¾ cups sucanat and 1 tablespoon powdered stevia: yummm!

You can buy a deep-dish pie crust, or make one yourself. I tried following the directions on a pre-made crust. It told me not to pre-bake if it was for pumpkin pie. Bleh. The crust, even after 65 minutes of baking, was doughy. So I recommend baking the empty crust until it’s almost done, like for 15 – 20 minutes. You’ll need pie weights or dried beans, so the crust doesn’t bubble up. A good pie crust recipe follows the sweet potato filling recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/4 cups sucanat (sugar) (OR ¾ cups sucanat + 1 Tbs stevia)
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter or oil
  • 2 extra large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 semi-baked, deep-dish pie shell

Directions:

  • Mash the sweet potatoes completely, then measure out two cups into a deep mixing bowl.
  • Add the sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, and salt, and mix well.
  • Mix the milk in until it has uniform consistency.
  • Add the spices and mix well.
  • Pour into prepared pie shell.
  • Bake at 350° 60 -65 minutes, until toothpick tests done. (You’ll likely need to cover the crust with foil in the last 20 – 30 minutes of baking, to prevent over-browning.)

For a good pie crust, use this recipe from https://www.inspiredtaste.net/22662/flaky-pie-crust-recipe/ (they offer an interesting pie crust read, and a video for the whole recipe). It makes enough for a double-crust pie. You can use half for this pie, and freeze the other half for later. For my flour, I used all-purpose einkorn.

Ingredients for pie crust:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, optional
  • 1 cup very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 sticks)
  • 4 to 8 tablespoons ice water OR ice water half-and-half with vodka

Directions:

  • Add 1 1/2 cups flour, salt and sugar (optional) to a food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times until combined.
  • Scatter butter cubes over flour and process until a dough or paste begins to form, about 15 seconds. (There should be no uncoated flour).
  • Scrape bowl, redistribute the flour-butter mixture then add remaining 1 cup of flour. Pulse 4 to 5 times until flour is evenly distributed. (Dough should look broken up and a little crumbly).
  • Transfer to a medium bowl then sprinkle ice water over mixture — start with 4 tablespoons and add from there. Using a rubber spatula, press the dough into itself. The crumbs should begin to form larger clusters. If you pinch some of the dough and it holds together, it’s ready. If the dough falls apart, add 2 to 4 more tablespoons of water and continue to press until dough comes together.
  • Remove dough from bowl and place in a mound on a clean surface. Work the dough just enough to form a ball.
  • Cut ball in half then form each half into discs. Wrap each disc with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months (just thaw it overnight in the fridge before using).

To make a single-crust pie:
Remove one of the dough discs from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes.
Lightly flour work surface, top of dough, and rolling pin. Then use rolling pin to roll out dough to a 12-inch circle (about 1/8-inch thick). Be sure to check if the dough is sticking to the surface below; add a small amount of flour when necessary.
Check for size by inverting pie dish over dough round. Look for a 1-inch edge around the pie dish. To transfer dough to dish, starting at one end, roll dough around rolling pin then unroll over dish.
Gently press dough down into dish so that it lines the bottom and sides of the dish. (Be careful not to pull or stretch the dough). Then, use a knife or pair of kitchen scissors to trim dough to within 1/2-inch of the edge of the dish.
Fold edge of dough underneath itself so that it creates a thicker, 1/4-inch border that rests on the lip of the dish. Then, crimp edges by pressing the pointer finger of one hand against the edge of the dough from the inside of the dish while gently pressing with two knuckles of the other hand from the outside.
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F. Place a baking sheet on a middle oven rack Pierce the bottom of the crust with a fork (this prevent air pockets or bubbles from forming while baking). Line the crust with two sheets of aluminum foil. (Be sure to push foil against the edges of the crust). Then, fill foil with dried rice, dried beans or pie weights. Refrigerate 30 minutes or freeze for 10 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
Place pie crust onto preheated baking sheet and reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until the crust is golden.

Recipe Friday: Kielbasa Bake

We were gifted some kielbasa and, wondering what to do with it, I thought about my Baked Pork Chop Dinner – I liked it so much that I decided on a re-do.

The kielbasa itself was enough for one dinner for the two of us. I wanted enough of the “rest of the stuff” for some left-overs: it will be good fried up as a side.

Ingredients:

  • 1 14-oz pkg kielbasa
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
  • 6 small potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks a bit larger than the sweet potatoes (they take different amounts of time to cook, so the sweet potatoes are a bit smaller)
  • 1 medium-large onion, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 3 small apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks
  • Liberal amounts of olive oil
  • Seasoned salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. I used a large baking pan, 15” x 10”
  3. Pour a tablespoon or two of olive oil on the bottom of the pan.
  4. Place each of the sweet potatoes, potatoes, onions, and apples into the pan as you cut them up.
  5. Drizzle with olive oil.
  6. Sprinkle with seasoned salt.
  7. Gently mix the vegetables about the pan and spread evenly.
  8. Slice the kielbasa into lengths you like, and spread over the top of the vegetables.
  9. Cover with foil.
  10. Bake at 350° for one hour.
  11. Remove the foil and bake another half hour.

Recipe Friday: Baked Pork Chop Dinner

Serves: 2

I made this when we were both not feeling well. Cooking over a hot stove sounded detestable, but we had already got the pork chops out, so…
While napping before dinner, I had a vision of this, and it turned out spendidly.


Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 90 min

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons (give or take) olive oil

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

2 medium-thick pork chops

1 medium onion, sliced thinly

2 medium apples, peeled and sliced

salt, to taste

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°.
Drizzle olive oil on the bottom of a 9×11″ baking pan.
Spread cut sweet potatoes over the bottom of the pan. Drizzle more olive oil, and salt.
Place the two pork chops on top of the sweet potatoes. (We had some large, thick pork chops, but this recipe will work fine with pork steaks, or chops a bit smaller. If you’re using thin pork chops, you may need to adjust the baking time.) (At this point, I sprinkled some seasoned salt on top of the chops.)
Spread the onions over the tops of the chops, then the apples slices on top. Drizzle more olive oil over all, and salt.
Cover the pan tightly with foil. Poke 5 or 6 slits in the foil.
Bake for 90 minutes. After one hour, remove the foil and put back into the oven to bake another 30 minutes.
Remove from the oven, and allow to rest for 5 – 10 minutes before plating.