Want to make that perfect Sweet Potato Pie for Thanksgiving, but it never comes out right? Start with knowing when the best moment is to pull the pie out of the oven. That comes down to answering the question - should it be jiggly when it comes out of the oven?
Is there anything more disappointing than to bake a dessert and have it not come out.
Like an cherry pie that is soup in the middle. Or a cheesecake that is dry as the desert.
It's very frustrating to say the least.
We want help play a little role in helping this frustration end, especially for the holidays.
Just as we have helped people avoid an overcooked pumpkin pie. We are here to help you with a sweet potato pie.
How to Tell When Done?
It really it all comes to down answering one simple question - Should Sweet Potato Pie Be Jiggly in the Middle?
Just as cookies are overdone if they look done in the oven, sweet potato pie should not look done in the oven. The center of the pie should have some jiggle to it.
The reason for this is carryover heat. Just because we pull the pie from the oven doesn't mean it just suddenly stops cooking.
The pie coming out of an oven that was 350 degrees and the pie itself it definitely not that hot. It takes time for the pie to cool down to the point where it is no longer going up in temperature.
The strategy is by puling the pie before the filling is completely set that the carryover heat will bring it to a point where the custard is set (sweet potato pie is considered a custard pie).
The filling will set around the edges before the center. If it is jiggly on the sides too then there would be enough heat for it to carryover to being fully set.
Here is a short video showing you how jiggly the pie should be in the center.
More Accurate Methods
A jiggly center still isn't an exact science. You can be more exact by checking the temperature of the pie. According to Alton Brown, the filling will set between 160-180 degrees so if your pie is in the range you know you are good.
Most people don't like putting a thermometer into their pie to check temp because it puts a whole in the pie. Paula Deen recommends sticking a knife in and seeing if it comes out clean, which will put a hole in it (and I don't think it's as good as the jiggle check.
Of course putting a hole in the pie isn't an issue if you cover the pie in whipped cream or if you cover it in pecans.
There is a way to completely take the guess work out. Make sous vide sweet potato pie! The magic of the immersion circulator is that you can cook to the exact temperature without an risk of going over.
Do you have one yet? I highly recommend them. In fact, I came up with a whole list of things you can Sous Vide for Thanksgiving.
You can do what I did with pumpkin pie and make individual sweet potato pies in mason jars. Serve it with a pieces of baked, and broken up pie crust or a crumble topping you sprinkle on made of graham crackers or ginger snap cookies.
Why Is It Mushy or Soft?
Have you cooked your pie and it turned out mushy or too soft? Why might that be?
Remember only the center needs to be jiggly when you pull it from the oven. It will be too soft if the entire pie is jiggly. The pie needs to hit the right temperature in order to set.
The recipe I suggest to make is Alton Brown's Sweet Potato Pie.
Alton's pie contains sweet potatoes, plain yogurt, dark brown sugar, cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, egg yolks, and salt. There is an optional to top it off with a pecans if ya like.
And if you can find them you can make the pie with these purple sweet potatoes for a beautiful looking pie that will everyone will notice!
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