Monday, November 17, 2014

17th Century Sweet Potato Pie

~1hr, serves 6-8 (it tastes so good that you may not want to share it with this many people though!)

This is a really wonderful pie recipe that would make a great addition to any Thanksgiving table. The dessert is not overly sweet, but the inclusion of bone marrow and butter make it wonderfully filling, moist, and very delicious. I was surprised at the simplicity and spectacular taste of this historic recipe. The pie is adapted from John Gerard's "The Herbal" located at the Plimoth Plantation website.

John Gerard

  • 4 sweet potatoes
  • pumpkin pie spice
  • dates
  • 4 lbs beef bones for marrow (you can find these at a local butcher or purchase from Earthfare)
  • 2-3 Tbsp honey
  • half an organic orange (you will need to include the peel)
  • homemade pie crust from here

  • one egg yolk
  •  1-2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2-3 tsp cinnamon whiskey
  • 1-2 tsp apple cider vinegar

-Preheat oven to 450 and heat a pot of water for boiling for the potatoes.

-Put some butter on the bones and cook them until marrow is soft ~15-20 min in a deep dish pan. A lot of fat will melt into the pan and they will start to smell really good when finished.

-Chop the sweet potatoes (without peeling) into thirds and boil until soft but not mushy.

-While waiting on the potatoes and bones to cook, make the pie crust. Make sure to grease the pie pan.

-When the bones are done cooking, lower the oven temp to 400 to cook the crust.  Keep in mind it won't really brown much. Poke it with a fork to check for done-ness.

-Peel and chop sweet potatoes into the desired size, I used ~1 inch chunks.

-Chop dates into small pieces.

-Remove marrow from bones. Chopsticks work well. Save all the grease from the marrow pan.

-Chop marrow into small pieces. I ended up just tearing it apart with my fingers. It was odd to try to cut with a knife.

-When the crust is done pack into it starting from the bottom: a thin layer of dates, all of the potatoes coated in marrow grease, some pumpkin pie spice, the rest of the marrow and grease mixture, and a topping of more dates.

-Sprinkle generously with ~1-2 Tbsp pumpkin pie spice and evenly coat pie with ~2-3 Tbsp honey.

-Grate orange peel onto the top of the dessert. Then squeeze the orange over it to add fresh juice.

-Cover with foil and cook for ~10-15 min to let the flavors infuse.

-While pie is cooking make the sauce. Barely melt butter in microwave and combine well with the other ingredients. Make sure to not cook the egg upon incorporation.

-When the pie is removed from the oven, place on a cooling rack for ~10-15 minutes. Just long enough so that it won't bake the egg yolk when added.

-Evenly coat pie in sauce and serve immediately.