Cardamom-Scented Sweet Potato Pie

This delicately flavored custard pie is accented with freshly ground spices.

Yield: 1 (9 1/2-inch) deep-dish pie
Recipe from Oxmoor House

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick, broken
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chilled shortening
  • 5 to 6 tablespoons ice water
  • Garnishes: sweetened whipped cream, ground cinnamon

Preparation

  1. Arrange sweet potato in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 20 minutes or until very tender.
  2. While sweet potato cooks, process cinnamon and cardamom seeds in a coffee grinder or blender until finely ground; set aside, reserving 1/4 teaspoon for top of pie.
  3. When sweet potato is done, cool slightly, and process in a food processor until smooth. Whisk together spices (except for 1/4 teaspoon), sweet potato, eggs, and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl.
  4. Combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until the size of small peas. Sprinkle ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, evenly over surface; stir with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened. Shape dough into a ball. Roll dough to about 1/4" thickness on a lightly floured surface. Fit into an ungreased 9 1/2" deep-dish fluted tart pan; trim off excess pastry along edges. Line tart shell with aluminum foil, pressing foil into the flutes. Trim foil to within 1/2" of top of pan. Fold foil down over top edge of crust to prevent overbrowning.
  5. Bake at 425º for 15 minutes; remove foil, and bake 7 minutes or until pastry is golden. Reduce oven temperature to 350º. With tart pan still on oven rack, pull out rack; pour filling into pastry, and sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon spices. Bake at 350º for 1 hour or until set. Cool completely before serving. Garnish, if desired. Store in refrigerator.
  6. Note: If you don't have a fluted tart pan, you can bake this pie in 2 (9") glass pieplates. Fit each piecrust (from a 15-ounce package refrigerated piecrusts) into a 9" pieplate according to package directions; fold edges under, and crimp. (No need to prebake crusts for these smaller pies.) Pour filling evenly into 2 prepared piecrusts. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon spices. Bake at 450º for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 350º; bake 30 more minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack. (Pies will be thin.) Or bake pies using 2 frozen piecrusts.
  7. Tip: Use a meat mallet to break cinnamon stick before placing in coffee grinder. Tap cardamom pods lightly with mallet to release seeds.
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