Thursday, November 27, 2014


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you enjoy the day with family and friends. And fill your bellies with delicious morsels. Don't forget the pie! Here's what I'm bringing to the table.

This recipe for Sweet-Potato Pie with Cornmeal Crust comes from Tara Jensen, owner of Smoke Signals, a small, wood fired bakery in Marshall, North Carolina. Jensen uses seasonal, organic produce to bake her breads and pastries. Some of of the ingredients she grows herself, along with her boyfriend, Joe Evans, owner of Paper Crane Farms. 

Pies are a special part of what Jensen does at Smoke Signals. Their crusts are made with 100% freshly milled, stone ground, pastry flour from Carolina Ground. The sweet potatoes are grown at Paper Crane Farm. This pie was featured in the Nov 2014 issue of Food & Wine

Sweet-Potato Pie with Cornmeal Crust
pie crust
1 1/4 cups pastry flour
1/4 cup fine cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
1/3 cup ice water

2 3/4 pounds sweet potatoes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
Unsweetened whipped cream, for serving

  1. MAKE THE PIECRUST - In a food processor, pulse the pastry flour with the cornmeal, salt, and sugar. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal with some pea-size pieces of butter remaining. Sprinkle the water on top and pulse until the dough just starts to come together. Scrape the dough out onto a work surface, gather up the crumbs and pat the dough into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate until well chilled, about 1 hour. 
  2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 13-inch round, a scant 1/4 inch thick. Ease the dough into a deep 9-inch glass plate. Trim the overhanging dough to 1 inch and fold it under itself. Crimp decoratively and chill the crust until firm, about 15 minutes. 
  3. Preheat the oven to 375º. Line the crust with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake in the lower third of the oven for about 20 minutes until the crust is barely set. Remove the parchment and pie weights and bake for 20 minutes longer, until the crust is lightly browned; let cool. Increase the oven temperature to 400º. 
  4. PREPARE THE FILLING - Poke the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and arrange them on a large, foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour, until tender. Let cool completely, then peel and coarsely mash. Measure out 3 cups of mashed sweet potatoes; reserve the rest for another use. 
  5. In a food processor, combine the butter with the granulated sugar and puree until smooth. Add the 3 cups of sweet potato and puree until each is just incorporated. Add the coconut milk, ginger, salt and cloves and pulse until no streaks remain. 
  6. Scrape the filling into the cooled piecrust. Brush the rim with the egg wash and sprinkle turbinado sugar over the crust and filling. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the filling is just set but slightly jiggly in the center, cover the crust with strips of foil if it gets too dark. Let the pie cool completely, then cut into wedges and serve with unsweetened whipped cream. 
Make Ahead - the pie can be refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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