Yay for holiday baking! Today in celebration of the day before Thanksgiving I am going to post one of my favorite seasonal recipes. I'm even being all organized about it and posting early, so I can have the rest of the day for all the cooking and cleaning that still needs to be done in time for tomorrow. There is something so festive about Thanksgiving preparations; I love it. This year we thought it would be a bit too much to travel back home for my huge extended family get together (I am still pretty subject to motion sickness and it's a long drive), so H and I are hosting a small gathering here tomorrow, just our immediate family and some close friends who found themselves similarly stranded from far off relatives this year. I think this will be fun, and Lord willing I'll see the fam at Christmas.
Yesterday I made sweet potato pies in preparation for Thursday. This is a happy recipe for me because it has pleasant memories associated with it, and because it is so dang scrumptious. Being southerners, my family of origin and I have always looooved sweet potato pie, but somehow lacked a perfect enough recipe for it. I remember several holidays in succession, as a young child, with my mother experimenting with various unsatisfactory sweet potato pie recipes and then grumbling about the inadequacy of the results in one aspect or another-- too runny, too sweet, gummy crust, whatever. Then one year she found the recipe I am about to post here. I can't remember if she found this in a cooking magazine or in the Times Picayune, but at any rate it is from Leah Chase, who owns (or owned? I must google this in a bit) a well known and liked restaruant in New Orleans, the Dooky Chase Restaurant.
After we first tried this sweet potato pie,we were hooked. We tend to make it several times a year, and my mother has never tried another recipe for sweet potato pie since. Neither have I for that matter. It's just per-fec-tion, in texture, consistency, sweetness level, and subtle blending of yummilicious flavors. It's also quite simple and fun to make. Without further ado. . .
Leah Chase's Sweet Potato Pie
4 lg sweet potatoes, about 3lbs, peeled
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup condensed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 T butter, melted
2 deep dish pie shells
Preheat oven to 375. Bake pricked pie shells for five to ten minutes (I usually settle for seven~ Leah). Remove and let crisp. Boil potatoes until soft. Drain and mash well. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Then whisk in eggs, milk, and vanilla. Finally whisk in butter. Spoon warm potatoes into pie shells. Layer pecans around edge. Sprinkle with cinnamon if desired. Bake around 45 minutes or more. Serve with whipped cream.