Around our house there’s one thing that’s synonymous with autumn–sweet potatoes. We eat them regularly, baked until the sweet juices inside bubble up and spill out.
A sweet potato doesn’t really need anything on it to eat it, but I like mine with a couple of pats of butter. Brian adds a little brown sugar. Andy adds brown sugar and cinnamon.
I don’t have a lot of time to bake, but I do enjoy making homemade pies. There was a time when I would make all kinds of pies, try new recipes, whip up a fresh peach and raspberry pie or blackberry pie on a whim. My favorite pie to make is my Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie, complete with pastry leaves on the edges instead of the traditional fluted crust. And, yes, I make my own crust, too.
Several years ago, shortly after the local sweet potato harvest, our friends Charlie and Marian McKinney gave us some sweet potatoes. One was a GIANT sweet potato, well over a pound. I decided I would use that potato to try my hand at a Sweet Potato Pie.
Brian and Andy were sold! They declared Sweet Potato Pie to be the king of fall pies, no need to ever bring a pumpkin pie to the Thanksgiving dinner again. So, around our house, we don’t eat pumpkin pie. We eat Sweet Potato Pie.
You already know where this story is going…fast forward a few years. We were experimenting with small batch brews for an autumn beer last year. Once again, we drew on flavors that we know, foods that we love. Our beer recipe development included time with my dog eared Sweet Potato Pie recipe. Sweet Potato Ale was born.
So, this year, in early August, we became the first microbrewery to put a sweet potato beer into a can.
Unfortunately as I’m writing this, there are some shelves that are already empty of Sweet Potato Ale, and they will not have it again until next fall. However, there are still lots of stores and bars and restaurants that will have our fall seasonal available through Thanksgiving.
Sweet Potato Ale is not sweet. But it is a very drinkable beer that can be enjoyed by many. In addition to a slight flavor of roasted sweet potato, hints of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla are also present, just like you would find in my Sweet Potato Pie.
I won’t hold out on you any longer. If you want to have a little Piney River that you can eat and drink this Thanksgiving, here’s my Sweet Potato Pie Recipe.
Sweet Potato Pie
Makes one 9-inch pie, Adapted from a Joy of Cooking recipe
Wash two large sweet potatoes.Pierce potatoes with a paring knife.Place potatoes on aluminum foil or in a pan lined with aluminum foil.Roast potatoes in a 350 degree oven for about 3 hours until sugars inside potato bubble up and come out of the pierced skin and potato is tender to the touch.After the potatoes cool, peel them.Mash the potato with a fork or a food processor.You will need 1 1/3 cups of cooled puree for the pie.
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Place a pie crust in a 9-inch pie pan, building up a fluted rim for the crust.Place pie crust in the oven to warm while you mix the pie ingredients.The pie crust should be hot to the touch.
For the filling, whisk together:
4 large eggs
½ cup sugar
Then whisk in the 1 1/3 cups of puree
Add to the filling and mix thoroughly:
1 cup evaporated milk
4 T unsalted butter, melted
4 tsp lemon juice
1 ½ tsp vanilla
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
¾ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp salt
Pour the filling into the hot pie crust and bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake until the center of the filling appears set but still quivers—about 20 minutes more.Allow the pie to cool before serving.Serve warm or at room temperature with or without whipped cream.
The sweet potato has long been a staple of American gardens and pantries. After harvest the sweet potato provides diverse culinary options. On the Piney River, we use roasted sweet potatoes in our handcrafted Sweet Potato Ale, inspired by our favorite sweet potato comfort food—the sweet potato pie.