Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sweet Potato Pie


     Truth in labeling. This is, in fact, a pie. A sweet potato pie, a southern staple that I grew up with. My mom has been making this pie for as long as I can remember. (And that's a pretty long time.)

     My mom is amazing. She still cooks a huge Sunday dinner every week. I'm there most Sundays, as are my sister and brother and any of our kids (and spouses and grandkids) that happen to be around. She's been doing this forever. And she always has dessert. Sometimes it's her famous cold oven pound cake, or even yellow cake with chocolate frosting. But quite often, it's sweet potato pie.

      A true Southern sweet potato pie is not a pumpkin pie wannabe. You'll not find cloves, nutmeg, or even cinnamon here. Just a little sugar, butter and vanilla added to the custard so the delicate sweet potato really shines through. My mom says "When I want a pumpkin pie, I'll make a pumpkin pie!" It's also an all season pie, too good to relegate to the fall and winter.

     This recipe makes two pies. My mom always bakes one plain and one with flaked coconut on top. There are those who prefer one or the other, but I am equal opportunity when it comes to pie.

    Sweet potatoes are readily available year round, and full of fiber and other things that are good for you. So sweet potato pie is like having dessert with benefits, right? I like to think so. And I hope you do too.

My Mom's Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potato (you can either bake or boil your potatoes until tender)
Use a potato masher or a fork- not a food processor
2 eggs, beaten
Scant cup of sugar (My mom says a full cup is just too sweet for her.)
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 of a 12 oz. can of evaporated milk- (about 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons) Save the rest to brush on the crust before baking
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
dash of salt

Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix  all ingredients together and pour into two regular (not deep dish) unbaked pie shells.
Sprinkle top with sweetened, flaked coconut if desired. Brush crust with reserved milk.
Bake about an hour, or until filling is puffed and crust is nicely browned. (The amount of moisture in your sweet potatoes will determine the exact time.) If your crust browns too quickly, cover crust with foil. Cool and serve.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Spotted Dog: An Irish Tea Cake

     I had to go pretty far back on my family tree to find my Irish roots, but they're definitely there.  Just enough of them, I suppose, to appreciate this beautiful loaf of what I've always called Irish Soda bread, even though now I've discovered that it really isn't.

     Did you know that there are rules for making Irish Soda Bread? The Society for the Preservation of Irish Soda Bread tells us that any ingredient other than flour, baking soda, sour milk and salt make your loaf an imposter. This loaf, my friends, is definitely an imposter. A tasty one, but an imposter nonetheless.

     This loaf has a bit of added sugar, some butter, a lot of currants- ingredients that deny it the title of an authentic Irish Soda bread, but make it oh-so-delicious. The lovely loaf they do make is called Spotted Dog. I think I like that even better.

     Spotted Dog is a quick and easy loaf to put together to enjoy at breakfast or tea time. Warm out of the oven and slathered with butter? That would be the top o' my mornin' for sure! Leftovers make a great toast too.
     This recipe makes two loaves; enjoy one now and freeze one for later. Better yet, share with a friend. Just please make sure you cut a deep X  into the top of your loaf before baking. Why? To let the fairies out, of course. Who wants to suffer the wrath of toasted fairies? :)

Spotted Dog: An Irish Tea Cake
Adapted from this recipe and this recipe
4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 Tblsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick) cut into small cubes
2 cups currants or raisins
1 egg, beaten
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a baking sheet or cover with parchment paper.
  • In large mixing bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar.
  • Cut butter into dry ingredients with a fork or dough blender until mixture resembles large crumbs.
  • Stir in currants or raisins.
  • Whisk together the beaten egg, the buttermilk, and the vanilla extract.
  • Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients.
  • Pour buttermilk mixture into the well and gently mix together until the dough is evenly blended. Do not over-mix.
  • Turn sticky dough out onto a generously floured surface. With floured hands, gently knead dough just enough (just flop it over a couple of times) and form into two softball sized balls of dough. Do not over-knead! It will make your bread/cake tough. You don't need your dough to be smooth and shiny- you want a nice craggy surface to make that beautiful crust!
  • Place your dough balls onto your prepared baking sheet and slightly flatten them into round loaves. Leave plenty of room between your loaves for rising.
  • Cut an X shape into the top of each loaf, all the way to the edges. This lets the fairies out!
  • Bake for 40 minutes, or until loaves are browned and sound hollow when you tap them.
  • Slice, slather with butter, and enjoy!

Related Posts with Thumbnails