Norma Gordon Harris, a best friend and hairstylist, taught Pattie how to make the unique pie crust. Patti’s famous sweet potato pie has a thin layer of brown sugar on the bottom crust. It adds flavor and prevents the filling from making the crust soggy.
Although homemade pie crusts are my favorite, I need more practice to make ’em taste good.
In the meantime, store-bought pie crusts are the perfect solution. Taste homemade.
~A tender, flaky pie crust, requires shortening. Some cooks use butter because they like the flavor. However, it makes a crumbly baked crust. Butter-flavored Crisco is better.
~Chilled shortening and ice water will also help a pie crust stay nice and flaky.
~A pie crust should be handled lightly like biscuits. Avoid too much kneading.
Photogenic washed and scraped sweet potatoes in hot salted water.
Patti's Sweet Potato Pie
A tasty homemade pie that's perfect for any occasion. Recipe from Patti LaBelle's New York Times bestselling cookbook, LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About (Penguin Random House). Adjusted recipe and photography by Beverly Davis for CornbreadMillionaire.com.
Sift the flour and salt into a medium bowl. Add the shortening. Use a fork or a pastry blender to cut shortening into flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. While stirring with fork, slowly add enough water until mixture clumps together (may need more or less water).
Gather dough. Press into a thick disk. If desired, wrap dough in wax paper. Refrigerate for up to 1 hour.
On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough into a 13-inch circle about 1/8-inch thick. Fold dough in half. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan, and gently unfold the dough to fit into the pan.
Use scissors or sharp knife to trim dough to a 1-inch overhang. Fold dough under itself so the edge of the fold is even with the edge of the pan. Flute the dough around edge of pan. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate while making the filling.
Bring large pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add sweet potatoes. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook until sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes.
Drain and run under cold water until cool enough to handle. Peel sweet potatoes and place in a medium bowl. Discard peelings.
Mash with a large spoon or, mix with an electric mixer on medium speed until very smooth. Measure 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes. Keep any extra for another use. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Uncover pie shell. Lightly brush interior with some melted butter. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of the brown sugar over the bottom of pie shell. Bake until pie dough is set and just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. If the pie shell puffs, do not prick it.
In a medium bowl, use an electric mixer on low speed, mix the mashed sweet potatoes, remaining melted butter, 1/2 cup brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, half-and-half, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Spread into the partially baked pie shell, smoothing the top.
Reduce oven temperature to 350. Bake until a knife inserted in center of the filling comes out clean, about 1 ½ hours.
Cool completely on a wire cake rack. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve with whipped cream (optional).