Pumpkin pie is a classic, and few pies scream Thanksgiving more clearly and loudly.
But there is another orange-ish, mashable player in town that is perhaps just as classic – it just usually makes its appearance as a side dish drowned in butter, brown sugar and marshmallows.
Your standard candied sweet potatoes are so close to being a dessert already that this year we cut out the middleman and had our potatoes in pie form.
A little booze-spiked and covered in dabs of marscapone whipped cream (as an homage to the marshmallows), this stunningly smooth and creamy pie is just as rich and decadent as pumpkin, but with a deeper and more earthy flavor.
Also, my perfect pie crust formula!
Maple-Applejack Sweet Potato Pie with Marscapone Whipped Cream
Yield: 1 Pie, Serves 8
For the filling:
- 2 lbs sweet potatoes
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup applejack
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
For the crust:
- 1 1/4 cups (6 1/4 oz) unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 6 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces, frozen
- 4 Tbsp vegetable shortening, chilled, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 3-4 Tbsp applejack or apple brandy, ice cold
For the whipped cream:
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tsp powdered sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped
- 1/2 cup marscapone cheese
Cook the sweet potatoes
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Puncture sweet potatoes with a fork a half dozen times each and bake until very soft, about an 75 minutes (depending on size of potatoes).
Make the crust:
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse flour and 1 Tbsp sugar until combined.
- Add shortening and pulse until incorporated, about 10 times. Add frozen butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal, with some blueberry-sized clumps.
- Sprinkle 4 Tbsp applejack over mixture and pulse a few times to mix. Turn dough out into a bowl. Press down with the back of a spatula just until dough comes together. Add remaining applejack if needed.
- Flatten dough into a 4-inch disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least an hour, or up to two days before rolling. If chilled longer than an hour, let dough sit on the counter for 20 minutes before rolling.
- Roll out dough to a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate and leave a 1/2-inch overhang. Squish crust lightly to edge of pie plate and crimp outer edges with a fork. Refrigerate until firm, 1 hour.
Make the filling:
- When sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the insides. You will need 2 cups of sweet potato innards. Transfer to a food processor.
- Add eggs, milk, applejack, 1/2 cup cream, sugars, maple syrup, salt, nutmeg and vanilla, and process until smooth.
- Reduce oven temperature to 375. Pour filling into crust. Bake until filling puffs and cracks around the edges and pie is just set, 50 to 55 minutes.
- Let cool completely on a wire rack.
- Pie can keep on the counter, lightly covered with foil for up to a day before serving.
Make the whipped cream
- Freeze two large metal bowls for at least 10 minutes.
- In one bowl, beat 1/2 cup heavy cream on medium-low speed until bubble form, about 30 seconds. Increase the speed to medium for another 30 seconds. Add vanilla bean scrapings and powdered sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Do not overbeat, or you get butter.
- In the other bowl, beat marscapone until light and fluffy. Add to the whipped cream bowl. Fold together very gently, giving mixture a quick beat on the lowest setting if needed.
- Scoop mixture into a freezer bag with the tip cut off, or a piping bag if you have one. Pipe whipped cream onto pie, but only immediately before serving.