Why do I bake things when I miss my Mom? + Monk's Chai Sweet Potato Pie Recipe (Non-vegan)

Hi, I'm John and I miss my Mom, so I baked a pie! Now I feel better. It's a Sweet Potato pie and it sure is delish. I've already had two friends tell me that it's the best pie (of any variety) that they've ever tried. I don't know if I'd go that far, but I recommend giving it a whirl. 

The pie (my) backstory...

My Dad was in the US Air Force when I was growing up and that proved to be great practice for picking up and moving to other countries. I had already made 12 international moves by the time I was 20. In fact, I'd say that my upbringing conditioned me to be more comfortable living outside of the US. So, when the opportunity to come to Australia came along it was a no-brainer. At least we kinda sorta have a common language. Anyways, I moved to Australia from the States in 2007. This country has been very good to me, and I'm grateful for all of my good fortune to be here, in Melbourne. Even now, under lockdown, I still love it here. It's home.

I feel like I'm pretty independent. I suppose I had to be, growing up the way I did. That said, no matter where I go, I still miss my Mom. This feeling only seems to increase as I get older. I usually make an annual trip back and she's visited me here quite a few times, as well. I feel that I'm missing her even more now that the option to go back has been taken off of the table, thanks to the current pandemic. Outside of having daily Whatsapp texts and chats with my fam in the states, I've been trying to think of some of the little things that we do when we are together. What we normally do is cook and eat..... Everything. My Mom used to bake up a storm when we were kids and to this day the smell of fresh-baked apple pie transports me in a wave of nostalgia to my Mom's kitchen as a four-year-old. Happy times! 

So- the recipe. My Mom never cooked me a sweet potato pie in my life! I'm not even sure she's had it. She's an apple pie specialist. So, why sweet potato pie?

1) I grew a fondness for them when I was living in Atlanta in 2004, and haven't tasted one since.

2) For some reason, I was thinking of it.

3) Nostalgia! Baking makes me feel like I did when I was a kid in my Mom's kitchen.

4) I have Sweet Potatoes. Bonus!

If you like pumpkin pie you will find this to be much creamier, and silkier yet densely rich without being over the top. The spice in this pie shows up, with a beautifully lite and tannic hum courtesy of the second infusion of Monk's chai during prep. 

Monk's Chai Sweet Potato Pie

  1. Read packet description on How to make a hero-dose Chai Latte. Drink it and read through the rest of the ingredients and directions. Save the chai you've strained off.
  2. Make pie dough. I recommend making a simple butter and plain flour crust ahead of time. 
  3. Boil potatoes. Boil the sweet potatoes until the skins are ready to come off and the potatoes are very soft, about 45-50 minutes. Add in leftover Chai for the final 20 minutes of boiling
  4. Prepare pie dough. Roll out the pie dough, then carefully tuck into your pie dish. Trim dough, then flute the edges.
  5. Ready your potatoes. Peel off the skin– which slides right off because the potatoes have boiled, then cut into large chunks and place into mixing bowl. Smash your sweet potatoes with a fork before beating in the other ingredients. It will only make it smoother and creamier. 
  6. Prepare the filling. Add remaining filling ingredients to the sweet potatoes. Beat with your hand mixer until smooth, spread into prepared pie crust, and brush the edges of the crust with egg wash.
  7. Bake. This pie will take about an hour in the oven until the centre is cooked through. You can do the toothpick test. and it should come out clean, mostly... It'll jiggle a little in the centre. Cool for at least one hour before serving.
  8. Serve. Top with whipped cream or serve with vanilla ice cream. Boom!
  •  Yield: 8-10 servings
  • Preprepared pie crust(full recipe makes 2 crusts– see notes below)

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (500g) sweet potatoes (about 2 medium)
  • 2 tbsp (30g) monk's chai
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temp
  • 1 cup (200g)  dark brown sugar 
  • 1/2 (120ml) cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 Tablespoons plain / all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • pinch of fine ground salt
  • egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with 1 Tablespoon (15ml) milk
  • optional: Finish with a topping of fresh finely grated nutmeg 
  • optional: Whipped cream

Instructions

  1. Pre-prepare simple pie crust.  Click here for a fantastic, simple recipe.
  2. Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan. Cover them with water, then bring to a boil on the stovetop. Boil for 45-50 minutes, or until super soft. Add in monk's chai during the final 15 minutes of boiling. During this time, begin step 3.
  3. On a floured work surface, roll out one of the discs of chilled dough. Turn the dough about a quarter turn after every few rolls until you have a circle 12 inches in diameter. Roll out the dough into a 9×2 inch pie dish. Tuck it in with your fingers, making sure it is smooth. Use a small paring knife to trim excess dough off the edges. Flute the edges and set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
  5. Drain the boiling water and throw out the used chai. Run the potatoes under very cold water for a moment. The skin should peel off easily at this point. Allow cooling until easy to handle. Slice the potatoes into large chunks, then place into a mixing bowl. Smash with a fork!
  6. Using a handheld or stand mixer with a whisk, beat the potatoes on medium-high speed until very smooth. Add the remaining ingredients (down to the egg wash) and beat on high speed until smooth. Spread filling into your prepared pie crust. Brush the edges of the crust with egg wash.
  7. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until the center of the pie is only slightly jiggly. A toothpick inserted into the center of the pie should come out mostly clean. 
  8. Place your pie on a cooling rack and allow to cool for at least 1 hour at room temperature before serving. The pie will filling will slightly shrink as it cools.

I hope you love this recipe as much as I have. We hope it gives you a lot of comfort and reminds you of the people that you love.

I'm going to adapt a vegan recipe for this in my next blog post. Until then #stayspicystaysweet 

Enjoy your next Chai!

Love,

John