With that being said, I'll offer two different Southern pies for your consideration. They're both relatively simple to bake and I think you'll enjoy them. The first is a classic, "Sweet Potato Pie," and the second is a more modern designer, "Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie."
|Sweet Potato Pie|
|Bourbon Chocolate Pecan|
A quick word about pie crust; While I believe that a properly homemade pie crust is superior in flakyness, tenderness, and appearance, I do not believe that it is superior enough to go through the tedious process of creating one from scratch. In my own personal blind taste tests, I pick the homemade crust every time, but I'm simply not prepared to invest the time and effort to "cube cold butter" and to "rest the dough in the refrigerator," etc. These two recipes call for "Frozen 9-inch deep dish pie crusts" and I believe the filling is so fantastic, that nobody (except for perhaps your Grandmother) will mention your lack of pie crust effort.
Let's start with the Sweet Potato Pie!
You will need:
- 20 ounces (1.25lbs) of peeled sweet potatoes (cubed)
- 1 1/4 cups vanilla yogurt (or plain yogurt, if you prefer a "tangy" pie)
- 3/4 Cup packed, dark brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon of FRESH GROUND nutmeg
- 5 egg yolks
- Pinch Salt
- 1 Cup chopped pecans
- 1 tablespoon black strap molasses
Go ahead and add 1/4 cup of the pecans, the yogurt, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt to the potatoes in a bowl, and turn on your stand mixer. If your mixer has a paddle attachment, that's the one you want. Beat it until it's nice and smooth and not emitting any steam any more. Finally, add the yolks and beat them in, until the mixture is a beautiful orange batter (with a few pecan lumps).
Pour it into your crust, and place the pie onto a cookie sheet (in case it bubbles over). Top the pie with the remaining pecans, and then drizzle the molasses over the top. Bake the pie for at least 50 minutes, I let her go for about 55 and to an internal temperature of about 175 degrees. Take it out and let it "set up" and cool for another hour or so. I think this pie beats pumpkin pie, hands down, every time!
For the Chocolate Bourbon Pecan pie, you will need:
- 3 eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 1 Cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 Cup light corn syrup
- 1/2 Cup dark corn syrup
- 1/4 Cup bourbon
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon bread flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/2 Cups Pecan Halves, divided
- 3/4 Cup dark chocolate baking chips, divided
A word of caution about this particular recipe... Pecan pies are notorious for their ability to look perfectly set and awesome on the outside, while staying unset and gooey on the inside. You'll notice the small amount of flour and the extra egg yolk to bring some protein to the mix that should help solve this problem. In any case, you'll want to pay particularly close attention to the quantity of the ingredients here, do not use more or less than what is described, and be sure to bake it the full amount of time.
Preheat your oven to 350, and take the frozen pie crust out of the freezer to thaw. Spray some "Pam" inside of your measuring cup, so the syrup will pour out quickly and easily. Measure exactly 1/2 cup of dark syrup and 1/2 cup of light syrup into your mixing bowl. Turn on your mixer and get the party started... While the mixer is turning and burning, add the bourbon, and the dark brown sugar. Drink a shot of the Bourbon, you know, for... "fortification and courage." Sprinkle in the flour. Add the eggs and extra yolk. Pour in the butter and a pinch of salt. Turn off the mixer and use a silicon spatula to mix in 1/2 of the pecans and chocolate chips.
Pour the mix into the pie crust and then sprinkle or decorate the top with the remaining pecans and chocolate chips. Place the pie onto a cookie sheet in case it boils over, and then pop it into the oven for 55 minutes to an hour. Remove the pie and let it set up for another hour or so. Here's my before and after pics of the Chocolate Bourbon Pecan pie: