Miss Lena's Sweet Potato Pie



From Smooth Cooking

This recipe comes from Lena Bell, saxophonist Pamela Williams’ grandmother. Lena’s sweet potato pies are famous in Pamela’s family! For even more vibrant color, try using garnet yams.

2 large or 3 medium red-skinned sweet potatoes
4 eggs
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
¾ cup evaporated milk or half and half
½ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon salt
1 ½ tablespoons vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and bake them until they are soft, about 1 hour. Set aside until they are cool enough to handle. Peel the potatoes, transfer them to a large bowl, and mash them.You should have about 2 cups. Or, peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into large chunks. Put them in a saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes, or until fork-tender. Transfer them to a large bowl and mash them./li>
  2. Set the sweet potatoes aside and let cool to room temperature.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and stir in the butter, sugar, and evaporated milk, whole milk, salt, and vanilla. Stir in the sweet potato purée and all the remaining ingredients until blended.
  4. Pour the filling into the unbaked pie shell and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool to room temperature before serving, 1 to 2 hours..
  5. Makes one 9-inch pie

    Pie Crust
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    ½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into bits
    2 tablespoons sugar
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    2-3 tablespoons chilled water

  6. In a food processor, process the flour, butter, sugar, and salt until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, about 15 seconds. With the machine running, add water until the dough just begins to form a ball. Pat the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, form a ball. Pat the dough into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1/8-inch thickness. Fit the pastry into a 9-inch pie pan; trim and crimp the edges.
  8. From Smooth Cooking