I often hate it when recipes titles declare things as “perfect” or “the best.” I find it a bit smug. I mean, really, how does one know it’s the best? Have they tried all of the other recipes for that particular dish? And what is perfection? Food is extremely subjective. Taste is extremely subjective. Cooking techniques vary greatly with ingredient or equipment preferences, dietary choices, even one’s kitchen ethos. There is no perfect; there is no best.
And yet, here I am declaring this the BEST sweet potato pie…at least to me and my family. I made it for Thanksgiving last year and my family absolutely loved it! My son even requested it for his birthday this year instead of cake. It’s a recipe from Joy the Baker, that I very slightly adapted. The rich, velvety texture and spice combination are what sends this pie into the best-claiming category: cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander and I add a bit of cardamom. And to really take it over the top, serve it with homemade whipped cream! Lives will be changed.
I’m slowly getting over my dough-phobia…this buttermilk pie crust recipe is easy — if I can do it, you can do it!! Trust.
This recipe makes two 9-inch pies; halve the recipe if you would just like one. Cook the sweet potatoes in boiling water, mash them and measure out 4 cups – if you have extra, reserve it for another use. The mashed sweet potatoes are returned to the pot and cooked with the brown sugar, spices, salt, butter, and half of the evaporated milk then taken off the heat to cool slightly. The remaining evaporated milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla are whisked together then stirred into the sweet potato mixture.
The sweet potato filling is poured into the prepared, chilled pie crusts. My pie crust crimping skills need a little work…we’ll call this rustic.
The pies are baked at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes, then at 325 degrees F for 50 – 60 minutes more, switching racks half-way through. The pies are done when they barely jiggle in the center.
Homemade whipped cream is the BEST. I add a tiny splash of pure almond extract to add another dimension of flavor.
Grab a fork and dig in!
The Best Sweet Potato Pie
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons of vanilla sugar or granulated sugar
1 teaspoons course salt
1 cup (8 ounces; 2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 cup plus 1 Tablespoon cold buttermilk
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold, cubed butter and quickly work the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers; you should have oat- and pea-sized pieces. Make a well in the center and pour in the buttermilk. Use a fork or wooden spoon to bring the dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits, adding more buttermilk if needed – the dough should be shaggy and moist, but not wet.
Dump the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, divide it in half, and gently knead each half into a disk. Wrap each disk with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (or overnight).
To roll out the pie crust, roll out one disk at a time on a well-floured surface to 1/8 inch thick and about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer it to a pie pan and trim the edges. Crimp the edge with your fingers or use a fork (I did one of each). Repeat with the second pie crust. Cover them with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours. Meanwhile, make the filling.
For the filling:
4 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes (peeled), from 4 medium sweet potatoes
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon course salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces; 1 stick) unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups (20 ounces) evaporated milk, divided
2/3 cup granulated sugar
6 large eggs
2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract
To a large pot, add the mashed sweet potatoes, brown sugar, all of the spices, salt, butter, and half of the evaporated milk. Stir well to combine and simmer for about 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Get the mixture as smooth as possible; you can use a stick/immersion blender to completely smooth the mixture. Once mixture is smooth, remove from the burner and let cool slightly in the pot.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the remaining evaporated milk, granulated sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract. Pour the egg mixture into the warm sweet potato mixture.
To bake the pies, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place oven racks in the upper third and bottom third of the oven.
Divide the prepared filling evenly into the pie crusts. Place each on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees F. Reduce the heat to 325 degrees F and continue cooking for another 50 – 60 minutes, switching racks half-way through. The pies are done when the crust is golden and the center barely jiggles. Let cool completely on cooling racks. Serve with homemade whipped cream. Enjoy!