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For the month of November there is something fun happening over here at this little cooking blog. I asked some of my favorite bloggers to share a recipe that they will be making this holiday season. Whether it is a holiday specific recipe or just something they will be cooking for their families while they are in the midst of the rat race know as the holidays.
Without further ado, let me introduce you to Metalia. Surely all of you are reading her blog? She is a working mom of two young ADORABLE children and she is hilariously funny.
When I asked her if she had a recipe she immediately told me about this praline sweet potato pie. She had already made it a few times, FOR PRACTICE, so that she would know how to do it for Thanksgiving. God, I love her. And now that I have read the recipe and seen the photos, I would practice making this pie and practice eating this pie for the entire holiday season. I do need practice eating stealthily in my pantry I think.
Praline Sweet Potato Pie: We can do this the easy way, or the hard way
I probably own close to 30 cookbooks, but the recipes I find myself reaching for again and again are the ones given to me by friends. I recently found myself in the possession of a ton of sweet potatoes, but quickly grew bored of roasting and baking them. I called my friend Esther–who is known for her quick, easy and delicious recipes–and begged her to give me something, ANYTHING to do with sweet potatoes. True to form, she delivered.
The pie is perfect for this time of year, and just SCREAMS, “Make me for Thanksgiving! And then ‘forget’ to serve me! And keep coming up with excuses to sneak back into the kitchen and devour me! Until you get caught red-handed with a forkful of pie in one hand and a can of whipped cream in the other! Whereupon you attempt to create a diversion while fleeing, leaving a you-shaped hole in the wall, a la the Kool-Aid Man!”
It’s a very gregarious pie, I tell you.
Here’s what you need to make it; you’ll have it whispering sweet nothings to you in no time. It does contain a fair amount of butter and sugar, but that is clearly canceled out by the inclusion of vitamin-rich sweet potatoes and antioxidant-loaded pecans. IT’S SIMPLE SCIENCE, PEOPLE. I DON’T MAKE THE RULES.
Where were we? Oh, right. The recipe:
** Since I feel strongly that everyone should be able to experience this pie, I’ve given dairy and nut-free substitutions, where appropriate. **
Graham cracker pie crust either store-bought, or homemade (Mine is: 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs, and ½ cup melted butter or margarine)
1½ cups mashed sweet potatoes (i.e., 2 - 3 sweet potatoes, peeled, cubed, and boiled until very soft)
½ cup sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ cup milk OR nondairy creamer/soymilk
½ stick butter OR margarine (either melted or VERY soft)
pinch of salt
½ cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. melted butter OR margarine
3 Tbsp. flour
½ cup chopped pecans
(Alternate nut-free topping –It’s obviously not from this recipe, but it’s one of my tried-and-true favorites, and would be great on top of this pie: ½ cup flour, ½ cup brown sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 4 Tbsp. chilled butter OR margarine, cut into small chunks, all mixed together until crumbly.)
Now, as I noted in the title of this post, you can do this pie the easy way or the hard way. The easy way ostensibly involved a store-bought pie crust.
I, however, like a challenge. By which I mean, my grocery store only had chocolate graham pie crusts, which doesn’t really seem like it would make a great flavor combination with sweet potatoes. Or anything not made of peanut butter.
And so, off I went to my own pantry, determined to make this pie the “real” way.
I peeled and cubed the sweet potatoes, set them up to boil, and started gathering the rest of the ingredients. I had both graham crackers and Teddy Grahams, but the idea of pulverizing poor, defenseless smiling bear crackers just seemed…unwholesome. They received their stay of execution (THIS TIME), and I moved on to the regular graham crackers, at which point I inadvertently did this to my husband’s laptop after numerous futile attempts at opening the package:
I am Hulk-like in my strength, people.
After hurriedly cleaning up the remains of CrumbFest ’08, I began taking out my food processor to chop up said graham crackers (and the pecans, separately)…and promptly realized that my kids were sleeping, and would most definitely wake up from the INCREDIBLY LOUD KITCHEN APPLIANCE MERE FEET FROM THEIR ROOM.
I inwardly sighed, and instead set about bashing the ingredients with a meat tenderizer in two separate zip-top plastic bags, muttering to myself like a crazy person about not thinking to buy chopped pecans and graham cracker crumbs (which they DID have) at the store. If you have a pre-made graham cracker crust on hand, congratulate yourself for your preparedness, and skip over the next two bullets.
Melt the butter and pour it into the graham cracker crumbs, mixing them together until well-blended.
Press the mixture into a pie pan/round baking dish. Preferably with the tiniest spoon in all the land, instead of, oh, I don’t know…a spatula? (I still have no idea why I did this. Seriously. Use a spatula, or your hand. It’ll be easier.)
At this point, the sweet potatoes should be done. Mash ‘em up.
Add the remaining filling ingredients to the mashed sweet potatoes (i.e., sugar, egg, vanilla, milk/nondairy creamer/soymilk melted butter/margarine, salt), and pour it into the crust.
In a separate bowl, mix the topping ingredients together until crumbly, and sprinkle it on top of the pie.
Bake 35 - 40 min at 350 degrees, uncovered.
Note that your home smells exactly like pralines.
Walk around joyfully sniffing the air in an exaggerated fashion, much like someone in an air freshener commercial, until the pie is done.
Cut a nice healthy slice.
DEVOUR. (Top with whipped cream, if you desire.)
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