Maple Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie
Almost a full month later after we rang in 2011, I show up here. Ha! I had a grand time over the holidays. Got sick twice which almost ruined all my plans but I chugged two bottles of cough syrup like I would a bottle of Perrier and took DayQuil pills like a maniac. How was yours? Awesome I hope. Here are some of my favorite Christmas/New Year’s Eve pictures of my three adorable nephews, Logan, Luke, and Landon.
Logan and Luke chilling at the beach.
That’s Logan who found a hermit crab at the beach.
Now Luke never smiles in front of the camera, but he did here!
My sweet Landon who looks just about perfect in this picture. Look at his eyes! He’s a bundle of cuteness. And look at him put up the ornament on the tree. Little chunky monkey.
These boys put me in a good mood just looking at their beautiful faces.
So I mentioned I got sick, right? Right. That awfully bad timing put a hinder into my baking schedule for the holidays. I had to take a rain check at all family get-togethers. My family EXPECTS not one platter of dessert from me at annual family parties, but two and sometimes even three platters! Just for when a relative of mine reads this post, can I just clarify that last sentence… I love baking for you!!! I actually feel empty-handed walking in with one dessert only. In fact, I feel terrible that I did not make anything at the family party. UGH.
However, I got to make a handful of things before that dreadful December flu. At my work’s 14 Days of Christmas where we ate and drank for 14 days straight at 4pm every day, I baked Mini Fruit Tarts and Sesame Thyme Crackers (both of which I only have iPhone pictures of so not really blog-worthy of a post). Then I also got to make this delicious Maple Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie. Now this pie gets a medal for booze factor (read: bourbon) and an honorary mention for super flaky crust and silkiness (a tie between these two pie characteristics).
The recipe was from Karen Barker, owner and pastry chef at Magnolia Grill in Durham, North Carolina. The recipe was printed on the The New York Times Dessert Cookbook. The book is a collection of just about the best dessert recipes featured on The New York Times over the years. You’ll see recipes from Suzanne Goin (of Lucques and AOC fame), Bill Yosses (pastry chef at the White House), Florence Fabricant (food writer and cookbook author), Nigella Lawson (you all know who she is because we all love her), Claudia Fleming (no words are enough to describe Ms. Fleming), and many more.
I roasted the sweet potatoes in this pie. It makes a world of difference. I love sweet potatoes and I found myself licking the sweet potato skins after I peeled them off to remove the flesh. Also, the combination of maple syrup and bourbon is utterly genius. I was generous on the bourbon (I don’t need to explain myself as to why) and I used a dark maple syrup… Grade B and organic.
As for the crust, I tried America’s Test Kitchen’s Foolproof Pie Dough for the very first time. I usually make a traditional all-butter Pâte Brisée but I’ve been curious for a while now how foolproof really is this pie dough and does it taste good? This pie dough uses vodka, yes vodka, as the mixture’s water substitute. I don’t want to bore you with the scientific rationale but bottomline, alcohol does not contribute to major gluten development making the dough tender and still easy to handle. My verdict? It is indeed FOOLPROOF. I mean, I usually palpitate when I make pie dough because it’s just so finicky. This one? A cinch. Really workable dough and it came out delicious. Although, I still prefer the traditional crust that uses all butter (Test Kitchen’s pie dough has shortening) in terms of overall flavor and texture.
The New York Times Dessert Cookbook is a must-have for all you baking aficionados. I’ve tried a couple of recipes in that book and they all get an A+. Buy it the next time you go cookbook shopping. Want the recipes for the pie? Here is the link for pastry chef Karen Barker’s luscious pie. Want to make your own dough and try America’s Test Kitchen’s Foolproof Pie Dough? You can subscribe here and get access to hundreds of recipes or you can go to Serious Eats and get the recipe.
By the way, new rule for the new year. I will include recipes of the stuff I share here via links moving forward. Unless the recipe is mine or I adapted a recipe, then I will include ingredients and directions on the post. In previous posts, I have ALWAYS given credit and incredible shout-out to whomever and wherever I got the recipe from. This year I thought that if I bake something from a printed material, I shouldn’t have to re-write the recipe here in my blog. Instead I should direct you on where to get it… whether that’s a web page (if available) or a link on how you can buy the book. I think that’s a fair trade for letting me talk about their recipe. Don’t fret. You’ll still see creations and adaptations from me. Or at least I’ll try.
Ending this extremely long post now. I hope I don’t continue this trend of lengthy blabber in future entries. Wishing you a fabulous 2011!
My parting picture… this is the oceanfront Las Gaviotas community in Baja where I spent New Year’s Eve (and Day) with my family. Cheers!