Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sweet (potato) surprises {a recipe}


 
Yesterday, my mom reminded me that it's been a year since she fell in a hotel room and broke her shoulder.  It not only brought up the fact that she indeed tripped over my kids' mess, but the extreme stress which was the Holidays of 2011.  You see, my mom is the the patron saint of mothers.  In such a way that she ends up acting like every one's mother.  Case in point, the holidays.  My mother makes 4 hams, 4 sweet potato pies, 4 pecan cheesecakes, 4 chocolate cakes and 2 pumpkin cheesecakes between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Imagine my utter terror, when that task fell to me last year.
 
For the record I only made 2 sweet potato, 2 hams, and 5 chocolate cakes, last year.  
 
That said I really wanted to share a funny little story that came out of the Holiday of 2011.  It wouldn't be my life if I couldn't laugh about it.  Also, I now have a story of my own, along with a recipe (that's kind of my own) to pass down to my kids and grandkids.
 
Last year, I was tasked with making sweet potato pies.  I don't make pies.  Cakes, cupcakes, pudding, scratch frosting, cookies by the dozen, yes.  Pies, no way.  I'm 34 years old and up until last holiday I had never once made a pie.  Not a pumpkin, not a cheesecake, not a single fill in with pie filling pie.
 
  I was terrified to say the least. 
 
Not bad for a first pie, am I right?
 
Also batting against me was the passed down recipe from my Great Grandma Mamie.  Mamie was superwoman.  I only knew her late in her life, but even then if you left a cup out she washed it and put it away before you could finish it.  If you left your jacket on the couch, it was washing when you went to put it on, and if you liked things like southern home style cooking, she had the touch.  Years ago, when I was a little girl, and Granny was no longer able to make her pies for the holidays, my mom set out to rediscover her recipe for sweet potato pies.  My grandpa loves them, I'm sure for the sheer memory of happy holidays when he was a boy. 
 
When mom had asked Granny for the recipe, she didn't have it written somewhere, it was just in her mind.  So mom had to guess and experiment as she went.  For years my mom worked and tried, and literally trashed pies trying to come up with the one. The one that was the right texture, consistency, and spiced just right.  Finally she found one that worked, and sweet potato pie was back as a Thanksgiving and Christmas staple.
 
Then I crashed the kitchen. 
 
I was so nervous.  This was the pie.  This was what my grandpa waited for all year.  Now I was the one who was going to make or break his holiday.  I almost cried at the idea.  Still, I put on my big girl apron, I went out and bought the ingredients, and I baked that pie. 
From scratch.
 
I delivered the pies to my grandpa the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  I waited a few hours before I called to see if they had tried them.  My Grandma answered the phone, and I asked her if Grandpa had tried the pies.  Not only had Grandpa tried the pies, but she tried them too, and guess what?
 
"You could give your mama a run for her money in pie making".
 
Whoa.  What?
 
Grandma and Grandpa raved about my pies.  The texture, the flavor, the richness.  What did you do differently they asked.  I didn't know.  I followed the recipe, I baked the sweet potatoes instead of boiled.  I even used my electric mixer to make it all smooth.  But that was it.  Even my mom said they were better, and that my new contribution to the holidays would be this pie.
 
Then it was time for the Christmas baking.
And guess what the secret was?
Sweetened Condensed Milk.
 
When I was in my terrified haze at Thanksgiving, I wasn't paying attention to the "canned milk".  Granny said that her pies used "canned milk", my mother took that as evaporated.  So for years evaporated milk was the ingredient.  Since I wasn't paying attention while shopping with my then 4 year old and 1.5 year old, while being blindsided by terror, I picked the first can off the shelf.  That can was sweetened condensed milk.
 
Thanksgiving is next week, and thank God we have all our limbs in tact and not in traction.  I'm looking forward to baking my 3 cakes, buying my pumpkin pie at Costco, and baking 24 vintage cupcakes.  My mom will be baking the sweet potatoes, adding the sweetened condensed milk, and providing the memories of Christmas past to my Grandpa. 
 
Not all baking disasters end badly. 
Sometimes you get a sweet (potato) surprise.
 
 
 
Granny's Sweet Potato Pie
2 large Sweet Potatoes baked
3 eggs
1/2 cup butter  (do not use margarine)
2 T. Flour
1 t. baking powder
3/4 c.  sweetened condensed milk
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cinnamon
2 T. Vanilla (yes, tablespoons)
1 c. sugar
2 unbaked pie crusts (scratch or store bought)
Bake sweet potatoes at 400 degrees for 2-4 hours depending on size. Mash.  Add in the rest of the ingredients until smooth, by hand or hand mixer.  Pour into 2 unbaked pie shells and bake for 45 minutes in a 350 degree oven until firm on top.
*Note:  I baked my pie on a cookie sheet.

6 comments:

  1. Hey Megan!
    Just saw your post on Life of Bon. It was awesome :)
    I just wanted to say hey!

    kianabates.blogspot.com

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  2. That is awesome Megan!! It sounds like some delicious came out of you not paying attention. ;) How often in life does that happen?!! :) xoxoxo

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  3. That is so cool! I'm for sure going to try to make your pie.

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  4. just came over here from Life of Bon-you're a doll. and as it turns out, i was just about to search pinterest for a sweet potato pie recipe but lo, the angel has descended and i have received a perfect sweet potato pie recipe without venturing in the vortex that is pinterest. thank you, megan. you have just saved the better part of my day.<3

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    1. Kate! You just made my day. I'm so happy you're visiting via The Life of Bon but also that you found the recipe. I promise it's so easy. If I can do it anyone can! Thanks for stopping by!!!

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  5. Ahhh that sounds incredible! You just solved my Thanksgiving dessert dilemma! Thank you!!!

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