"Hey, wanna know what makes my sweet potato pie recipe so delicious?" I proudly asked my friend yesterday.
Janice gave me her familiar look suggesting she already knew the answer, chuckled, and said, "Because you made it like 1500 times when we were in naturopathic medical school?!" Well.... yes. Though this wasn't quite the answer I had in mind. And, it wasn't quite 1500 times, it was still a lot of times. You can get an idea from the picture of this well-worn cookbook that inspired the recipe below. You know a cookbook is well used when the pages stick together just a little bit.
Guys, before I go any further, please.... This is my all-time most favorite cookbook. It is called The Voluptuous Vegan. And for those of you in the Phoenix area, I bought it at Changing Hands more than 10 years ago for $9. It was seriously the most well-spent $9 of my life. If you have any need for some inspired vegan cooking, this is the book to use. This cookbook is the source for vegan comfort food. The recipes are not gluten-free, so some recipes may take some experimenting around to accommodate food intolerances.
The recipes in The Voluptuous Vegan are definitely not quick. And they are not easy. But they are fun and amazingly delicious. The kind of delicious recipes that make you think, "Really?! I can make that?! I didn't know I could cook like that! Hmmmm...... who wants to come over for dinner on Sunday?" Many Sunday nights during naturopathic medical school, I hosted "Family Dinner" for a group of friends and neighbors. Most of us didn't have family in the area, so we became like family to each other. And ate a serious amount of sweet potato pie together.
It turns out that there is possibly little else in the world that can make someone feel quite as loved as like a really good sweet potata pie. So I set out to perfect mine.
My good friend Janice asked me the other day if I would share my recipe with her. This is a recipe that I have never shared, until now. Always one for over-accomplishing, I told her I would go a step above just sharing the recipe. I would come over and make the pie with her!! Under one condition: that we could take pictures to give me the excuse to share this coveted recipe with you all. And remind me of just how delicious this pie is. UmmMMMMmmm.... Seriously, folks.
Oh, and by the way, the secret to making this pie so delicious (other than making it just shy of 1500 times) is quite simple. Always give a little bit more of the good stuff, just for good measure. If you are wondering if you will have enough sweet potatoes, buy some extra. If you are wondering if there is enough cinnamon, ah.... just throw in a little extra dash. Ginger? Sure, a little bit extra. A little spicy! Now, don't over do it. Just a dash extra. And only for good measure.
This recipe will make one large pie tin. Or, you can use Pyrex (or other glass baking ware) to make an arrangement of sizes. Some times, I will make this in a casserole dish. Other times, I will make it in smaller portions to keep in the freezer for those cold winter nights that are best warmed by a piece of pie. Because no guest is ever disappointed that you have a piece of homemade sweet potato pie in the freezer. Especially not when it is vegan and gluten-free.
Hopefully, you'll take the excuse to try this labor of love sweet potato pie recipe this holiday season. After all, there really isn't much that says love like "I made a sweet potata pie for y'all."
Don't forget to bring the love this holiday season, folks.
The Most Delicious Gluten-Free Vegan Sweet Potato Pie
Makes 8-12 servings
Prep time: 45 minutes
Total time: 3 hours
1 1/4c gluten free flour
1c almond meal or flour
1t baking powder
4T raw sugar
3/4c coconut oil (warmed enough to be in liquid state)
2t apple cider vinegar
8-10T ice water
5 pounds of sweet potatoes
1/2c maple syrup
1/2c non-dairy milk
4t coconut oil
1 1/2T fresh grated ginger
2T arrowroot powder
1t agar powder
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Bake the sweet potatoes:
Leave the sweet potatoes whole, with the skin on. Wash the skins very well, taking care to remove any rotten spots. Wrap each potato in a single piece of aluminum foil.
Line a large cookie sheet with one more piece of aluminum foil and lay wrapped sweet potatoes on top of the foil. (The sweet potatoes often "bubble over" so it seems helpful to line with foil to protect the pan.)
Place the cookie sheet with sweet potatoes in the oven.
Allow to cook for 45 minutes to an hour. The sweet potatoes should be very soft when squeezed lightly with an oven mitt. The juices from the sweet potatoes should also start to "bubble over" the aluminum foil wrapper. This is a key step. It is best to let the sweet potatoes cook just a little bit too long so they are really soft. This will make your filling even smoother.
Prepare the crust:
Combine gluten free flour, almond meal/flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl.
Add coconut oil and mix well. It is usually about this time that you will want to wash your hands 2-3 times, set the spoon aside, and begin making the crust directly with your hands. Thoroughly combine dry ingredients and coconut oil. Make sure to really work the flours and oil in together.
Add vinegar to ice water. Begin adding vinegar/water to crust 1-2T at a time. Continue to mix well with your hands. Add remaining vinegar/water and combine well until a dough begins to form.
Use your hands to form dough into the bottom of your pie tin. A crust that is about 1/4 inch thick seems to be a great ratio of crust to filling. Take a little bit of time to form your crust to the bottom of the pie tin. I also like to create a little extra "lip" of crust that rests over the filling.
Place pie crusts in the refrigerator to allow to form.
Prepare the filling:
Once the sweet potatoes have cooked to the point of beginning to "bubble over", it is best to remove them from the oven.
Please be careful. The sweet potatoes are going to be hot. And, the steam built up in the aluminum foil is going to be even hotter.
As you carefully remove the aluminum foil, allow the sweet potatoes and any juices to fall into a large mixing bowl. (I usually use the same one used to make the crust, no real need to wash it.)
It is ideal to allow sweet potatoes to cool for at least 30-45 minutes. If this is not an option, then just be extra careful.
With caution, remove the skins of the sweet potatoes. They should easily peel away. If sweet potatoes are still hot, it is helpful to use a fork/knife to help pull away the skin without burning your fingers.
Add maple syrup, non-dairy milk, coconut oil, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. Combine well with immersion blender or hand-held electric mixer.
Add arrowroot powder slowly and combine well.
Add agar and combine well.
Blend just a little bit more, just for good measure.
Build the pie:
Reduce the oven to 350F.
Pour the filling into the solidly formed pie crust.
Cover the edge of the crust with a "collar" of aluminum foil. Place pie in oven and bake for 45-50 minutes.
Remove the foil from the crust, return to oven, and bake for 20-30 minutes or until crust starts to brown.
Allow pie to cool for at least an hour before serving.