(deep dish) sweet potato pie

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The weekend before Thanksgiving I left the Middle East for a colder clime. (Who would willingly leave 80 degree weather for just above freezing temperatures?) What brought me to said colder clime is that my dear sister is studying abroad in Berlin, and so I spent a lovely weekend in the land of currywurst, quark, mayonnaise, and beer.

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In fact, the making of this pie inspired the name of this blog. I can’t really say I ever expected to one day find myself baking in the tiny kitchen of a sweet German couple in Berlin; what are the odds? And what are the odds that this sweet German couple (who my sister was lucky enough to receive as host parents) also own a candle shop in the historical Jewish quarter? 

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As a tourist, some people I know said I did Berlin all wrong; no, I didn’t eat a döner at Mustafa’s. And no, I didn’t eat any currywurst (I’m sorry! I just forgot!). I didn’t eat any schnitzel (though I’m used to eating that here in Israel) and I didn’t even eat a berliner.

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But still, I managed to do lots of other things: I took pictures of the East Side gallery; I discovered the glories of a quark-filed donut; drank some hot red wine; ate a döner at Tamid’s (a place my sister argues is better than Mustafa’s or at least doesn’t involve waiting for two hours in the cold); ate a delicious dinner at Schwarzwaldstuben, a traditional German restaurant; drank a German beer in the middle of the day while walking down the street; and of course, most importantly, I made my sister a pie.

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There was much confusion and subsequent improvisation. First, I accidentally bought the wrong flour for the pie crust. Second, the pie pan I used was smaller in diameter and deeper than is traditionally called for. Third, I didn’t have a single measuring cup or measuring spoon, and so was forced to use a combination of intuition and a lovely white and blue porcelain tea cup to measure the proportions of the ingredients. All in all, it turned out rather well.

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(deep dish) sweet potato pie
Adapted from Simply Recipes’ Sweet Potato Pie I recipe

I deviated from the original recipe in two ways. First, I cut the sugar down from 1 cup to 3/4 cup, though you can probably do even less than that – the sweetness of the sweet potato goes a long long way. Second, I just went ahead and combined all the filling ingredients together in one bowl and mixed without first mashing the sweet potato. Feel free to mash the sweet potatoes first, but if you’re jonesing for some pie in a hurry, just throw everything in there and have at it.

A half recipe of your favorite pie crust. As usual, I used Smitten Kitchen’s all butter, really flaky pie dough, though with wheat flour (accidentally).

1 pound sweet potato (approximately two medium sized sweet potatoes)
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar (white sugar will preserve the bright orange of the sweet potato)
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Make pie filling
Boil sweet potatoes whole in skin for 40 to 50 minutes until fork runs through easily. Run cold water over the cooked sweet potatoes and peel.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (~180 degrees C).

Mash sweet potato with a fork in a bowl. Add butter, sugar, milk, eggs, and spices (in short, everything else) and stir to combine.

Roll pie crust out and set into a 9 inch pie pan. Pour filling into pie pan and bake at 350 degrees F (~180 degrees C) for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve lukewarm (some people I know can’t wait until it’s completely cooled – myself included) or cold with whipped cream.

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