Friday, March 19, 2010

15. Sweet Potato Pie, Pride and Sweet Potato Pie

Many years ago I was asked to teach a pie-baking class at church. It was a great opportunity for me to learn about pies and then, to share that knowledge. Of course in those days, we did not have computers so, I watched cooking programs that had anything to do with pies, read everything I could find about pies and pie crust and baked, baked, baked. Many of my old ideas about pies and crusts were replaced with better ones and I could hardly wait to pass all this information on.

Finally, PIE day arrived! The tender and beautifully baked creations had been carefully placed on the dining room table; they were the result of all those weeks of study and practice. Front and center was a wonderful sweet potato pie...a pie I had never made nor tasted before. I so wanted this delightful looking pie to be praise-worthy when presented for tasting to my friends. With a prideful eye I took one last look and headed upstairs to get ready for the big night.

 My mind was preoccupied with dozens of pie facts and teaching points as I came back into the dining room to pack up the pies. Suddenly, my whole body felt like I had been zapped with a Taser. The center of the sweet potato pie was missing! My head turned and there on the floor I saw our dog slinking away with guilt and pie on her little toy-poodle face!

My mind was frozen but I managed to process two thoughts, " What should I do?" and, "What could I do?"

 I did the unthinkable...I cut away anything my little dog's lips had touched, sliced the remainder of the pie into pieces and put them on a plate and took them with me to my class. I never said anything about this little mishap and...most important of all...the pie was delicious!

Sweet Potato Pie


3 med sweet potatoes
1 9-inch pie shell
¾ C butter, melted
4 eggs
¾ C evaporated milk
¾ tsp each: nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla
1 C sugar

Bake sweet potatoes until almost fork tender. (Microwave directions below), Cool. Scoop potatoes out of skins and mash...they should measure about 2 cups. Mix potatoes and remaining ingredients, puree until smooth. Pour into pie shell. Bake 350 degrees 40-45 min until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Garnish with whipped cream. (If you shake the pie plate slightly and the filling moves, it is not done. This test will save you from making multiply knife marks on top of the pie).

Hint: Keep this pie away from the dog!

Microwave directions: I discovered a wonderful microwave aid. It is a quilted cloth, fold-top baggie. To bake any potato, first wash and dry the potato, (do not prick skin); surround it with a paper towel, place in bag and fold over the bag top. Place in the microwave and cook on HIGH for 4 minutes. Squeeze-test potato through bag, continue baking at 1 min. intervals, if not soft enough.  Remove will be very hot! This quilted-bag baking method cooks potatoes in a few minutes and they have the texture and taste of oven-baked potatoes.

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