Sweet Potato Pie with Sesame Praline Crust
Recipe courtesy of How to Build a Better Pie by Millicent Souris
Serves 6 to 8
Sweet Potato Pie with Sesame Praline
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Preheat the oven to 425°F
Roll out your chilled pie crust to 1⁄8-inch thick and about 15 inches in diameter. Trim the edges so there is no more than 1⁄4 inch of
overhang. Lift and crimp the overhang along the rim of the pie pan. Chill your crust in the freezer for at least 15 minutes or chill in the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. It is important for the crust to be very cold and the fat to re-form and firm up.
Pull your pie plate out of the refrigerator and place your foil in it. It should sit flush with the plate, come up along the rim, and fold down to cover the edges. This foil protects the crust from over browning, but do not press the foil to the edges. Place 1/2 pound light colored dried beans in the bottom and level them out. Put the crust in the oven.
Bake the crust for 20 minutes at 425°F . Then pull out the crust, lower your oven to 375°F, and carefully lift the aluminum foil by the edges off your crust with the beans in it. Put your crust back in the oven for 15 minutes. Check at 7 minutes and turn it 180 degrees.
Check your crust. The edges may be a little darker than the rest, but it should be set and very light in color. The bottom is more than likely a little bit bubbly and looks shiny. Let it cook a bit more, 5 minutes at the most, if the bottom is more shiny than matte. Then take the crust out and let it rest for 10 minutes. Lower the oven to 350°F .
Roast your sweet potatoes (as much as 3 days in advance). When the potatoes are still warm, slip them out of their sleeves and push through a medium-size colander. If you have a high-power blender or food processor, use that, but in lieu of said equipment, push the sweet potatoes through a colander with a wide wooden spoon. This is an essential step, because the texture informs the loveliness of this pie.
If you have a blender or a hand mixer, pull it out. If not, wield your strongest whisk and your dominant hand. Don’t use the blender or hand mixer on the first step of ricing the potatoes; they don’t have enough horsepower, and you’ll just end up with a gluey mess. Mix together your eggs and cream until homogenized. Add the 3 cups of sieved potatoes and mix until it’s all together. Add the sugar, salt, spices, and bourbon. Mix until smooth.
Pour your sweet potato mixture into your cooled, partially baked pie crust. Put it in the oven. At 30 minutes turn it 180 degrees. Check the pie at 45 or 50 minutes. This takes about an hour to cook. The best way to check it is to put a butter knife in the middle or give it a shake. If the knife comes out pretty clean, it is good. For the same measure, if it’s only the very middle of the pie that is jiggly, the pie is done. Pull it and let set for at least an hour.
To make the praline, melt your unsalted butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the brown sugar when the butter begins to bubble and whisk them together. Watch your heat, you don’t want this to burn, but you want the brown sugar to dissolve into the butter, to cook together.Add the heavy cream in a steady stream, whisking the whole time. Stop whisking and let the this bubble a bit to come together. It’s done when it ceases to taste just like butter, sugar and heavy cream, it’s still raw. It will taste like a creamy caramel, about 5 or 7 minutes. Add the salt to finish and whisk. Finish with the sesame seeds.Mix the sesame seeds in so everything is well dispersed.
It is very important to let this praline sit and cool a bit. If you pour on the pie hot it will spill over the sides. Pour the cooled praline over a cooled pie. Let it firm up a bit, about 30 minutes.It should coat the entire top.