Friday, November 4, 2011

My Little Sweet Potato

Sweet potato pie is one of those things I absolutely adore, but don't often have.  Thanksgiving is usually all about the pumpkin and pecan pie, poor sweet potato is usually not given a second thought by most folks.    Whenever I've eaten sweet potato pie in the past, I always find myself wondering why the hell I don't make/eat it more often.  When thinking about Fall pies I could make for the blog, I knew sweet potato had to be on the roster, but I wanted something a little different.  For many people, myself included, sweet potatoes served with marshmallows is forever entwined with Thanksgiving.  I wanted a pie reminiscent of that iconic combination.  I have seen recipes for sweet potato pie topped with marshmallows and broiled, but I wanted to elevate the level just a touch, so I went with Italian meringue.  This type of meringue is made by whipping a hot sugar syrup into the egg whites, resulting in a fluffy, shiny, delicious form of heaven in a pie topping.  Coincidentally, when you make home made marshmallows, you start with an Italian meringue.  So there you have it, pie full of sweet potato flavor, accented simply with orange zest and vanilla and crowned with a beautiful, snowy meringue.  My little sweet potato is all grown up, and delicious!

Sweet Potato Pie with Italian Meringue
1 9" pie shell, unbaked
1 1/2 cups cooked, mashed sweet potato (I roasted mine)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 whole egg
3 egg yolks, save whites for the meringue
Juice and zest of one orange
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Place a sheet pan on the lowest rack of your oven and pre-heat to 400 degrees.  Place the sweet potatoes in a mixer bowl and mix on medium speed until well mashed.  Add the sweetened condensed milk and mix again, scraping the bowl often.  Add the eggs, vanilla, orange zest and juice and mix again until well combined.  Scrape the filling into the pie shell and place on the pan in the oven.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake another 20 minutes, until the pie is set and puffed.  Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Italian Meringue (from
3 egg whites, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 Tb. corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/8 tsp. kosher salt
Place egg whites in a mixer bowl.   Whip the whites in mixer until soft peaks form.  Whip in the salt.  Stir sugar, corn syrup, and 1/4 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until sugar dissolves. Attach a candy thermometer to side of pan. Increase heat to medium-high and boil without stirring, occasionally swirling pan and brushing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush, until thermometer registers 240°, 6-8 minutes. Remove pan from heat.  Slowly pour hot sugar syrup down side of bowl into whites and beat until meringue is firm and glossy. Continue beating until cool, about 4 minutes.  Spread the meringue over the top of the cooled pie, being sure to connect it to the edge of the crust.  Bake the pie in a 450 degree oven until nicely toasted to your liking, about 3 to 6 minutes.  Watch carefully, it can burn fast.

When I finally settled down a beautiful slice of this pie, my mind was pretty much blown clean outta my head!!  This pie is everything I wanted it to be.  Decadent and rich, with a deep sweet potato flavor brightened by the orange juice and zest, and the meringue is soft, sweet and toasty delicious on top.  This pie rocks my world.  Nuff said.

The filled pie ready for the oven.
It's puffy fresh out of the oven.
But it'll flatten out as it cools.
Pile on the beautiful meringue and make decorative swirls.
They will brown nicely after a few minutes in the hot oven.
Thanksgiving perfection.
I love you, my little sweet potato.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it wonderful what Pinterest can do? I just found you and cannot wait to bake this pie this week - a year after you posted it! I love sweet potato pie and never thought of topping it with meringue - but Italian meringue... perfection! I wonder if I can sub the corn syrup for light agave syrup?