Sweet Potato Pie Time
Does anyone else have fun just saying 'sweet potato pie' and then end up saying it in a southern accent as well? This dish is just so homey and comforting and name only does it half the justice. The humble sweet potato pie originates from southern parts of America and is usually eaten at thanksgiving and Christmas instead of the more well know pumpkin pie. Seeing as thanksgiving is just around the corner, I thought I would share this delicious vegan recipe for the classic sweet potato pie. Now don't run away because it is vegan, this pie will not comfort you any less than the classic recipe, it is still an all-round winner. It has the warm autumn spices with the sticky molasses from the mix of brown sugars and the crumbly pastry to add to the delight.
If you have read my previous posts you will know that I am not vegan myself but there are just some recipes that are amazing and just so happen to vegan as well. This is one such recipe. I also like to use vegan recipes to reduce my animal product consumption and every now and then I forget to buy eggs. For all these reasons, I like to have some indulgent vegan recipes up my sleeve.
Health Fact: sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants and fibre. We all know why fibre is good for us but antioxidants are less known. We know they are good for us but often unsure as to what they do. Basically, they help reduce the risk of age-related illnesses such as heart disease and certain cancers. Sweet potatoes can also help with eye health and increase your immune function.
Pastry: for the pastry, you can buy the ready made stuff but I always think homemade has a better texture and flavour. Making the pastry also gives you an excuse to brag about your baking skills. If you do buy the pastry just make sure its hasn't been pre-cooked because you will end up with a burnt pie. You can also prepare the pastry in advance if you don't want to make the whole pie in one day. Just line the pie dish with the pastry and then wrap the whole thing in cling film. Keep in the fridge until you need it.
Rolling out the pastry: because the pastry is made with margarine it will make the pastry a little softer than if it was made with butter. This means that you will have to be a little patient with it as it will need to have more time in the fridge. However, this pastry can patch really well meaning if the pastry rips, you can squash a bit of pastry in the rip or patch it together very easily. If you aren't actually bothered about it being vegan, you can replace the margarine with butter and it will be a bit sturdier and easier to roll out.
Sweet potato puree: if you can't find ready-made sweet potato puree (which I'm not sure you can in the UK) you can make it really easily. Just peel and chop some sweet potato and then boil it for around 15 minutes or until it is very soft. Allow the potato to cool and then blend into a paste. Easy peasy.
Baking: this pie takes some time in the oven so it's best to keep an eye on it. At around 35 minutes check that the pastry and top of the pie isn't getting too dark too quickly. If you think there is a chance of burning, place a loose layer of foil over the top.
Storage: once baked, you need to keep this pie in the fridge but if you want to save it for later just wrap the portion you want to keep in clingfilm and then freeze. To defrost, remove the pie from the freezer and leave in the fridge overnight. You can freeze the pie for around 1 month.
Vegan Sweet Potato Pie
For the pastry
60g Caster sugar
190g Plain flour
2-3tbsp Cold water
For the pastry, mix the sugar and flour together. Use your hands to rub the margarine into the dry ingredients until you get a breadcrumb texture with no large lumps of margarine.
Add 2 tbsp of cold water and bring the pastry together (you may need to add more water, do this a teaspoon at a time until the pastry starts to clump together). Turn the pastry on to a well floured surface and knead until it just comes together into a ball.
Using a rolling pin, roll the pastry out to a large enough size to line a 9inch pie dish. Lift the pastry with the rolling pin and place into the tart tin. Gently press the pastry into the pie dish and then trim off any excess (if there are any rips don't worry, this pastry can be patched really easily). Place the lined dish in the fridge while you make the filling.
For the filling
320g Sweet potato puree
200g Light brown sugar
2 tbsp Dark brown sugar (optional)
160ml Coconut milk
2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp Ground ginger
Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C fan
To make the filling, blend all the ingredients together into a smooth paste. Pour this mixture into the cooled pastry and bake for 60 minutes.
Check the pie at 35minutes and if it is browning too quickly, place a loose layer of foil on top. Remove the pie and allow to cool for as long as possible or for at least 2 hours before enjoying. Serve with vegan cream.
Enjoy your pie whether you're celebrating Thanksgiving or not!