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Mini Vegan Sweet Potato Pies THE SMOLLETTS

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ingredients
PERFECT PIECRUST:
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for handling the dough
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold, salted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 to 4 tablespoons ice-cold water
VEGAN SWEET POTATO PIES:
6 medium yams, peeled (see Note)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 recipe Perfect Piecrust
Flour, for rolling out the dough

directions
For the Perfect Piecrust: Mix together the flour and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and use your hands to press and pinch the flour mixture into the butter, working until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of the cold water and fold the dough together using a rubber spatula. Continue to add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough just holds together.
Divide the dough in half and form it into two discs, dusting it with a bit of flour if it sticks when you work with it. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for at least 2 hours before using.
For the Vegan Sweet Potato Pies: Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the yams for about an hour, or until soft. Drain the yams and put them directly into a food processor to puree (or use a handheld mixer). it’s best to puree the yams when they are still hot because they will mash easier. When the yams are a smooth consistency, place them in a large bowl and mix in the brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stir to make sure all the ingredients are married to the sweet potatoes. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Lightly dust a clean work surface and your hands with flour, then roll out the pie dough. Using a pairing knife to cut rounds that are just a little bigger than the diameter of the pie tins. Transfer the dough rounds to the tins, pressing to adhere to the sides, and use a fork to poke holes in the bottom. Set the tins on a rimmed baking sheet and bake the crusts empty (“blind bake” them) for 5 minutes. This will keep the crusts from getting soggy.
Use a small spoon to divide the filling among the crusts and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the filling is firm and caramel-like on top and the crust is golden and flaky. Serve immediately or let cool completely, then wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
Note: So, we use yams for our sweet potato pie, as does everyone we know and our family always has for generations. They are actually sweeter and more flavorful than sweet potatoes.
Tip: Piecrust can be frozen for up to 3 months if wrapped well.

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