I’ve lived in the South for just over two years now and since then I’ve embraced plenty of good Southern food: fried pickles (pure genius!), Real BBQ (sometimes Northerners like to call Sloppy Joes “BBQ”…tsk tsk!), pimento cheese (more on that soon), and corn bread. But I shunned sweet potato pie. I love sweet potatoes, especially sweet potato fries. But growing up my only impression of sweet potato pie was this sickly sweet thing with marshmallows on top. No thank you!
But as I’ve discovered time and time again, when something is properly prepared it is delicious. Just because you didn’t like it the first time doesn’t mean won’t like it the next time. So if you too grew up with that marshmallow concoction that was rather scary, give this a try. You’ll be delighted. It tastes like pumpkin pie, and who doesn’t like pumpkin pie?
I made mine mini since they were for a social event and it is much easier to eat mini pies than try and slice out pieces. Takes a bit more time but they are super cute! If you have no need to make mini ones a big pie will be just as tasty.
Mini Sweet Potato Buttermilk Pie
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
One year ago: Peanut butter blondies with chocolate and sea salt
Yield: One 9 inch pie or about 20 mini pies
Time: Filling batter 10 minutes if using canned puree; Dough 10 minutes plus chill time; Rolling out dough will depend on whether you are doing mini or full pie
- 1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2 medium potatoes), peeled and chopped into a 1/2-inch dice*
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup full- or low fat buttermilk*
- Pie dough
Notes: I used canned organic sweet potato puree, because, well, I had it sitting in my pantry. It worked just fine and sped up the process if you are in a hurry. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand (and really, who does?) make your own by adding 1 TB vinegar to 1 cup milk. Let sit at room temperature until curdled, about 5 to 10 minutes.
1. Prepare your pie dough. Preheat oven to 350F. If making a full pie, roll out the dough large enough to fit your pie pan and press gently into pie pan. Blind bake (cover dough with foil and fill with dried beans or pie weights) for 10 minutes or until just barely golden. If making mini pies, I used a 4 inch cookie cutter and a muffin tin. You will have to re-roll scraps several times. Chill dough again if it becomes too tough to handle. I did not use weights when blind baking but just pushed it back down after baking. Let cool completely while you prepare your filling.
2. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
3. Pour 1 1/2 inches of water into a 3-quart stock part with a strainer basket suspended over it and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potatoes, cover and steam until fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Place the steamed sweet potatoes in a large bowl and let cool to room temperature. Mash them into a smooth puree with a food mill. You should have 1 1/4 cups puree; discard any excess. Or just open a can of sweet potato puree and measure out 1 1/4 cups into your mixer bowl. Add the butter, lemon juice if using, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt and mix on low speed until thoroughly combined.
4. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a whisk, about 30 seconds. Add the sugar and beat until they’re a creamy lemon-yellow color, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the egg mixture to the sweet potato mixture and stir until the eggs are thoroughly incorporated and the filling is a consistent bright orange color. Add the flour a little at a time, stirring after each addition until thoroughly incorporated. Add the buttermilk and again stir until smooth and even.
5. With a cleaned whisk (or electric hand mixer), whisk the egg whites to soft peaks in a clean, dry bowl. With a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the sweet potato-buttermilk mixture until thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into the prebaked crust and bake on the middle rack of the oven until the center is firm and set, 35 to 40 minutes. If making mini pies, bake about 20 minutes until center springs back when touched.
6. Remove the pie from the oven and cool completely on a rack. Serve at room temperature (or cold from the fridge; you can cover it with plastic wrap before chilling) with a dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!