mercredi 23 novembre 2011

Pumpkin Pie Vs. Sweet Potato Pie

Pecan Pumpkin Pie

Sweet Potato Pie 

Why is it that every time you ask someone "Do you like pumpkin pie?" the answer is, "Better than sweet potato pie" or "No, I prefer sweet potato pie"?
The brand-new, New Yorker-made-in-France that I am is quite surprised.
Do these two vegetables taste so alike that you can't help comparing one to the other?

What we can't deny is that right after Halloween, pumpkins remain the star.
I took my inspiration from dozens (hundreds? thousands?) of recipes.
I decided to try a Pecan Pumpkin Pie, and I liked the New York Times Dining and Wine idea of twisting their Sweet Potato Pie recipe with coconut milk.
I would bake both from scratch: pate brisée, pumpkin and sweet potato purée.


The pumpkin purée

I truly believe that preparing a pumpkin puree from scratch is better that one out of a can (even if it's organic).
I followed this method, which is very easy. 

Along with cooking the pumpkin:
  • Toast the pecans for about 15 minutes.
  • Toast the spices for 5 to 10 minutes; it enhances the flavor. 
The recipe: 

La Pâte Brisée (Short Crust Pastry)
Good for two 8-inches pies

All purpose flour sifted
2 cups
8.82 oz
"Sabler" together
and make a fountain in the middle
Unsalted Butter (European style)
½ cup
or one stick
3.53 oz
1  (large)
Whisk together, add in the middle of the fountain and gradually combine
Water (cold)
1 Ttbs + 2 tsp
0.9 oz
1 tsp
Dark Brown Sugar
2 tbs
½ tsp
Lemon or Orange Zest
½ (of the fruit)

Step by Step:
Put flour and cold butter cubed together.
Rub butter and flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. This is called "sabler" (it looks like sand).

Make a "fountain" in the middle of the sandy mixture and add egg, water, sugar, salt and cinnamon already whisked together.
Gradually mix the wet and the dry ingredients together.

The "pâte brisée" is ready.
Gather into a ball, and refrigerate at least 30 minutes in a plastic wrap. 
It is possible to prepare the crust a day before and even to keep it into the freezer.
Before using, let it warm up about 5 minutes, it will be easier to roll out.

  • Roll into a 13-inch circle and transfer to the pastry circle. (I used an 8-inch pastry circle). You can, of course, use a pie pan.
  • Cut the extra dough with a knife. 
  • Prick the bottom with a fork.

    Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
    Preheat the oven to 350°F 
    The Pumpkin Filling:

    2 (large) + 1 yolk

                           Whisk lightly
    Dark Brown Sugar
    ½  cup
    White sugar
    1/3 cup
    Salt (Fleur de Sel)
    ¼ tsp
    Lemon or Orange Zest (preferably organic)
    Vanilla Bean
    Whisk together and add
    Crème Fraiche
    ½  cup
    Heavy Cream
    1 cup
    2 cups
    Add and stir to combine
    1 tsp
    (beforehand roasted in a 350°F oven for about 10')

    Ginger Ground or Fresh
    ½ tsp
    ½ of a ¼ tsp of each
    2 cups
    Spread on the bottom of the crust
    Préalablement roasted in oven for 15'

    Step by Step: 

    Whisk lightly together: eggs, sugar, salt, flour, zest and vanilla bean. 

    Whisk the crème fraiche and heavy cream together and add to the mixture. 
    Add the purée and toasted spices, stir to combine.

    Pre-cook the crust for 15 minutes.
    Spread the toasted pecans on the pre-cooked crust.

    Pour the mixture.

    Cook for about 40/50 minutes, until the crust is brownish. The center of the pie is still a little bit wet.
    Cool on a wire rack.

    This pie is very light in spices. This allows the pumpkin flavor to exist.
    I had to put my French touch by using some crème fraiche.
    It is very creamy. I baked a plain pie as well (without the pecans), veeerry delicious.


    Otherwise, as for the pumpkin pie, I used: 
    • The same pate brisée.
    • The same pastry circle. 
    • Toasted spices.
    • I pre-cooked the crust for the same amount of time to prevent it from becoming soggy. 
    The sweet potato purée

    Put the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan, add water to cover by about an inch, and bring to a boil; reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the potatoes are very tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Mix the potatoes with a hand blender or run them through a food mill. 
    The recipe: 

    White sugar
    ½ cup

    Whisk together
    Dark brown sugar
    ½ cup
    Orange zest (preferably organic)
    ½ (of a fruit)
    2 (large)
    Add and whisk until fluffy
    Butter softened
    ¼ cup
    Add and whisk
    Coconut milk
    1 cup

    Sweet potato puree
    2 cups
    16 oz
    Add and stir to combine
    ¼ tsp
    (Toasted in a 350°F oven for 10’)
    ¼ tsp
    Vanilla bean

    Step by Step:

    Whisk the two sugars and orange zest. 

    Add eggs and whisk.

    Add the butter softened at room temperature (or a few seconds in the microwave). Add the coconut milk, the sweet potato purée and spices. Whisk to combine.
    Pour into pre-cooked crust.  

    Cook for 35/40 minutes according to your oven. The center is still quite moist.

    Choose a good coconut milk; I used an organic one. 
    If you are using a food processor, don't over-pulse. 
    You can enjoy these pies with whipped cream (not too sweet).
    Just whip the amount of heavy cream desired. Use the whisk attachment of an electric mixer. When soft peaks start to appear, add 1 tb of conditioned sugar, and whip again. The whipped cream will still be soft. Don't over-whisk (you'll end up with butter). 
    I enjoyed both of these pies that taste very much alike. The sweet potato pie might satisfy a sweet tooth even more. It's slightly sweeter and richer with the use of butter.  

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