Mood: don't ask
If the snow holds off, we're going to my sister Calico's for Thanksgiving and to celebrate her husband Mig's 40th birthday. Rather than lay back and let someone else do all the cooking, he will spend the day doing one of the things he loves best, and one of the many things he does well, cooking a feast for a gang.
I love any excuse to cook (a baby shower, a New Year's party? and I get to bring something?--Hooray). And I love to cook Thanksgiving dinner, but with no dining room and only a tiny eating area in the kitchen full of two wriggly, strapping kids, I can't even have intimate dinner parties anymore, much less host holiday meals.
To Thanksgiving I will be bringing a terrine of some type, which may be oxtail if I can find some or maybe some rillettes instead. I have to shop and figure that out today as it's a bit of a project and needs to mellow a couple days before serving. I'll also be bring my killer sweet potato pie, which is not too sweet and has a flaky lard crust.
And a small turkey will hang around the Brizzi house in reserve in case the weather prohibits traveling two hours to Connecticut.
Here's my pie:
The Best Sweet Potato Pie Ever
Adapted from Big Mama's Old Black Pot (Stoke Gabriel Enterprises, 1987) by Ethel Dixon
2 medium to large sweet potatoes (1 and 1/2 lbs.)
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup chilled lard
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 12 oz. can evaporated milk
Preheat oven to 375?F. Scrub sweet potatoes, trim pointy ends off, and bake on a tray for about an hour or so or until soft. Lower oven temp to 350?F.
Meanwhile, make pie crust. Mix flour, salt and sugar in a medium bowl, then add the chilled lard and work quickly with your fingers until lumps shrink to pea size. Add water and mix together. The dough will be crumbly, depending on the humidity, but pat it together to make a flattish disk. Wrap in plastic wrap or wax paper and stick in the fridge to chill for half an hour.
Roll out dough on a floured flat surface (cutting board, marble slab or dishtowel-topped countertop), and put in a 9-inch pie plate, pinching up the sides so it can hold more filling.
When sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, mash well with a potato masher or fork in the same or a fresh medium bowl. Add filling ingredients and mix well. A whisk is good. Pour into pie crust and bake until firm, about 60-70 minutes.