SWEET POTATO PIE WITH PECANS This recipe is for two 23cm pies. When making desserts, I often like to do a double portion so I can freeze one. Sweet potato pies keep really well in the freezer.
This is my mother’s recipe. Everyone has their own version but this one is particularly straight-forward. If you aren’t keen on nuts, just leave them out.
MAKES 2 LARGE PIES OR 24 INDIVIDUAL ONES
1kg sweet potatoes 300g softened butter 300g caster sugar 400ml can of sweetened condensed milk 4 eggs 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons nutmeg 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 2 teaspoons lemon juice a handful of pecan nuts or (or walnuts) for topping
For the sweet pastry
250g plain flour 1/2 teaspoon salt 2 tablespoons caster sugar 130g butter, diced 4 tablespoons cold water
To make the pastry, combine the flour, salt and sugar in a mixing bowl. Using 2 knives in a scissor action, cut the butter into the flour until it has formed coarse crumbs. Add the water a tablespoon at a time, mixing it in with the knives until a dough has formed. With floured hands, pat the dough into a smooth ball and push down to flatten it. Cover with cling film and chill for 30 minutes, then divide it into 2 balls and roll each one out thinly. Use to line two 23cm tart tins, trim the edges, then pinch them at the top to flute them. Alternatively you could make little mini pies using muffin tins. Cut out small circles of pastry and use to line the tins. Chill until ready to use.
Place the sweet potatoes in their skins in a large pot of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until they are soft but not falling apart; a knife should pass through them easily. Remove from the water and gently peel off the skin. Place the flesh in a large bowl and add the softened butter and the sugar. Mix together with an electric mixer or a potato masher until smooth. Add the condensed milk, eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and lemon juice and mix until the mixture is lump free and resembles a smooth mash.
Fill the pastry cases three-quarters full and top with the pecans or walnuts. Place the pies in an oven preheated to 180C/Gas Mark 4 and bake for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the filling is firm and golden brown. Serve either warm or cold, with ice cream. Once the pies are completely cold, you can wrap them tightly and freeze for up to 3 months.