Monday, October 31, 2011

Aiden and I and Sweet Potato Pie

I was running late picking him up from kindergarten. I knew I only had 15 minutes to spare. Impulsively, I ran into a new grocery store, Green Something, to pick up bread and milk and added more items, you know how it is. Then I went to check out and it’s all self-checkout which I hate. The machine started screeching when I put the chicken in the plastic bag. I was running late and knew that Aiden, my little 6 year old grandson, the worrier, would think I had abandoned him. I drove a too fast down the street, shame on me, and slid into position in the pick-up kid queue at Indian Grove Elementary School. It was 11:35 am and thank God, I was safe. Aiden told me later, “Well, you know Grandma, when you are the last kid waiting they put you in the office and call your parents.” Subtle little stab in the heart.

We unloaded the groceries in my little cottage, “Grandma’s Tree House.” Milk, bread, eggs, root beer, a whole chicken, large eggs, lemons, rosemary, and bananas. Aiden and I settled down into working on a book we made together. It’s called, “Love.” I’d been noticing that his imagination was getting wild and wooly, stretching the bridge between truth and well, untruth.

We wrote the book the weekend before, and then we finished the illustrations. Aiden is really adept at computer stuff, learned how to scan the artwork into the computer in about 10 minutes. He also figured out how to take pictures and download them into the picture file, and then I showed him how to insert it into a document. Sometimes I think he would be perfectly happy having his own apartment with a computer, scanner and printer as long as he had an income stream from somewhere.

So he had dictated his self-description to me, “He is 100 feet tall” and “he has 10 fingers on each hand” and “his grandmother is the baddest Grandma in town.” When I asked how that was possible, he said, “Well, she tries to help people.” Geesh, that’s what made me bad? Anyway the book is hilarious, I did most of the illustrations, and he wrote all the words. He wants to send it to a publisher so we put it in an envelope and sent it to Scholastic, Inc. So it’s on its way to New York. While we wait for glory to come find us, I asked what he wanted to do.

“Let’s cook, Grandma.” Hmmmm. Ah, I remembered the sweet potatoes I had baked the night before. Perfect. I went into Food Network for a recipe and pulled up Emeril’s Sweet Potato Pie. I gave him my “Grandma’s Warning About Electric Mixer’s Talk” and then we began to gather the ingredients. Basically my scary talk is this, “If a child puts his fingers in the beaters he will lose his little fingers.” He’s very careful.

Aiden used the mixer to smooth out the sweet potatoes with the cup of cream, he beat up 4 eggs into the bowl, dumping in the pumpkin pie mix, cloves, salt, ginger, while I scrapped the sides with a wooden spoon. We poured it all into the cooked pie shell, and voila! Around 45 minutes later, it looked like a yummy soufflĂ©. Aiden, sitting in his little wooden chair said, “Oh, Grandma, so delicious!” I’d never had sweet potato pie, but I think we both love it more than pumpkin. Try to make it with someone you love. The love makes it taste better.


•1 egg white, lightly beaten

•1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes

•1 tablespoon vegetable oil

•1/2 cup light brown sugar

•1/2 cup maple syrup

•2 teaspoons ground ginger

•1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

•1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

•1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

•1/2 teaspoon salt

•1 cup heavy cream

•4 large eggs

DirectionsPreheat oven to 375 degrees F.I used a pre-made pie shell in the refrigerated section and it worked perfectly.Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle. Carefully transfer the dough to a 9-inch deep pie pan and ease the pastry into the bottom and sides of the pan. Press the dough into the shell and crimp the edges in a decorative pattern. Using the tines of a fork, lightly dock the base of the shell. Place the shell into the oven and bake until lightly browned, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush the bottom with the egg white. Set aside until ready to use.Rub the sweet potatoes with the vegetable oil and roast in the oven for 45 to 60 minutes, until very tender. Remove and set aside to cool. Peel the potatoes and pass the flesh through a fine mesh sieve using a rubber spatula. You should have about 1 1/2 cups of smooth sweet potato puree.In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sweet potato puree with the sugar, maple syrup, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt. Whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the heavy cream with the eggs and whisk to combine. Add the cream and egg mixture to the sweet potato mixture and stir to blend. Pour the batter into the prepared pie shell and place the pie on a sheet pan. Bake until the center is set and the tart is golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting. We made whipped cream out of the leftover cream.

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