If there was one thing that I could transport from America to Finland, and I could not choose to have my family imported, Thanksgiving might be that one thing. It is one of my favorite holidays. I like the message that it contains; being thankful for the people and things in life and not just simply taking everything for granted. When life is smooth sailing it is not hard to find the things to be thankful for, but I would like to believe that even during the most trying times that there would be something positive in everyones’ lives. It just might need a little soul-searching to find them.
Here in Finland, the fourth Thursday in November is a normal school and business day. I would like to instill some of the American traditions in my children, especially the ones that are special to me. During the fall, it is possible to find the “jack-o-lantern” pumpkins in the grocery store, but not the variety pumpkin pies are made from. I have tried making them from the “jack-o-lantern” pumpkins sometime in the past and it was a watery mess. Yesterday I was reading Suzanne’s blog, a pug in the kitchen and she had made a pie using baked sweet potato. Perfect, I thought! The consistency, color and flavor are close enough. So today I made sweet potato pies with my go-to pumpkin pie recipe by Jane Whitman Tierney.
To make things go smoother, I baked the sweet potatoes in their jackets for about an hour to an hour and a half the night before and just set them on a rack to cool overnight. The next morning I mashed them with my immersion mixer.
First thing in the morning I started with the pie crust so that it would have some time to rest in the refrigerator.
Jane Whitman Tierney’s Pie Crust for one 23 cm/9 inch pie
You may make this pie crust by hand, in a food processor or in stand mixer using the paddle attachment. I made a triple amount and put the extras in the freezer for later use.
3 dl/1.3 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
115 g/4 oz cold butter cut into small cubes
1 and 1/2 tbsp cold lemon juice
2-3 tbsp ice water
I think that the secret to this pie crust is in the lemon juice giving it the perfect contrast to any pie filling.
Mix the flour, butter and salt so that it forms a crumb mixture. Add the ice water and cold lemon juice and mix until if forms a ball. Place in a plastic bag and allow to rest in the refrigerator. You may allow it to rest over night as well.
Roll out the dough on a table sprinkled with flour. Using a fork or your index finger and thumb make a pattern along the edge of the crust. Allow to chill for another 20-30 minutes before baking. This will prevent the pie crust from shrinking. Bake the crusts at 225 C/435 F for about 10-12 minutes. Remove from oven. While the pie crusts are baking make the filling.
5 dl/generous 2 cups of mashed sweet potato (a raw 700 g/24 oz sweet potato will be needed for this amount)
1/2 dl/ 1/4 c sugar
1 dl/ 1/2 c brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp all spice
1 tsp ground cloves
dash of salt
2 dl/just under 1 cup of heavy cream
Whip the eggs and sugars until they form a fluffly light brown foam. Mix the spices (I use smaller amounts than what the recipe calls for) into a small amount of the mashed sweet potato and combine the spice mixture with the rest of the sweet potatoes. Fold in the sweet potato mixture into the egg foam and finally mix in the heavy cream. Pour the filling into the pre-baked pie crusts and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes at 225 C/435 F. Reduce the temperature to 175 C/350 F and continue baking for another 40 minutes or so that skewer comes out clean when tested in the middle. Allow to cool until it is a luke warm and enjoy it with a dollop of whipped cream.