April 09, 2010

Sweet Potato Pie with Three-Nut Topping

For the last Friday of tax season, I asked DH what kind of cake he wanted.  His response was not a cake but one of his favorite pies.  The recipe originally came from an old raggitty copy of Bon Appetit and is online here http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Sweet-Potato-Pie-with-Three-Nut-Topping-2650 , though I don't use the crust recipe.  I don't like it as well as regular pie crust for this.  

There is a funny story behind this particular pie recipe.  Years ago we lived in this dinky apartment in SF.  One of the notable features of this place was an old gas oven with a broken thermostat.  The only way to regulate the temperature was to open and close the oven door until the temperature was correct.  DH worked for a different firm then, and one of the firm's clients was a sweet potato farmer.  Periodically, he would come home with a half dozen sweet potatoes and they were just the best thing I'd ever tasted.  At the tax season party that year, one of the partners mentioned that he'd heard I liked the sweet  potatoes and I told him that if he got me a whole box, I would make him a sweet potato pie. 

Well, sure enough, some weeks later, DH comes lugging home a 40 lb box!  So I pulled out the special recipe for sweet potato pie.  But DH felt we couldn't just single out one partner, so maybe I should make one for each of the four partners.  Ok, no problem.  Then it was, maybe I should make one for each of the managers too, uh, then maybe the senior accountants...  I ended up making a pie for each person at the firm, a grand total of 23.  In a broken oven.  And I used less than half the box of potatoes.  But every pie came out perfect and this has become a favorite recipe!  I only made two pies today;-)


1 deep dish 9 inch pie crust.  (I used Marie Calendar's premade crust, thawed.  I never have been able to make a decent scratch pie crust).

18 oz. sweet potatoes
3 large eggs
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup firmly packed dark browm sugar
2 Tbsp. Honey
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 cup whipping cream


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp. honey
1/3 cup whole almonds, toasted
1/3 cup whole hazelnuts, toasted
1/3 cup walnut halves, toasted

Preheat oven to 350F.  Poke skins of the potatoes with a knife and microwave for about 20 minutes, until very tender.  Cool until able to handle.  Scoop potato out of skins into mixing bowl.  Beat until smooth.  Add eggs and beat.  Cook butter over medium heat until melted and brown.  Add sugar, honey and pumpkin pie spice.  Boil for one minute, stirring constantly.  Whisk in cream.  With mixer on low, slowly pour cream and sugur mixture into sweet potato mixture.  Pour filling into crust.  Bake until center moves only slightly when pie is shaken, about 40 minutes. 

Toward the end of the baking time, prepare topping.  Melt butter in saucepan with brown sugar and honey on low heat.  Once sugar has dissolved, turn up heat to medium and boil one minute.  Stir in nuts and coat completely.  Quickly spoon hot nut mixture over pie.  Continue baking until topping bubbles, 5-10 minutes.  Cool completely before serving.

April 02, 2010

Lemon Burst Cupcakes

This recipe came from http://www.bettycrocker.com/.  I used a French Vanilla cake mix and decorated the cupcakes with green coconut and "Robin's Eggs" (Whoppers). 


1 box French Vanilla cake mix
1 jar (10-12 oz.) Lemon Curd
1 large container white frosting
3/4 cup coconut
few drops green food coloring
1 bag "Robin's Eggs"

1. Heat oven to 350°F (325°F for dark or nonstick pans). Make and bake cake mix as directed on box for 24 cupcakes, using water, oil and eggs. Cool in pans 10 minutes; remove from pans to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

2. By slowly spinning end of round handle of wooden spoon back and forth, make deep, 3/4-inch-wide indentation in center of top of each cupcake, not quite to bottom (wiggle end of spoon in cupcake to make opening large enough).

3. Spoon lemon curd into corner of resealable heavy-duty food-storage plastic bag. Cut about 1/4 inch off corner of bag. Gently push cut corner of bag into center of cupcake. Squeeze about 2 teaspoons lemon curd into center of each cupcake for filling, being careful not to split cupcake.

4. Frost cupcakes with frosting.

5. In a small bowl, mix ccocnut with a few drops green food coloring.  Once coconut is an even color, lightly press the tops of the frosted cupcakes in the coconut.  Press a few "Robin's Eggs" in center of each cupcake.