Brittany’s Baking Story: The Thanksgiving Test Pie

November: Sweet Potato Pie with Chocolate Hazelnut Crust

The age-old rule is don’t make anything new for Thanksgiving. So I had to make a test pie before I attempted to make this pie for my family. It came out pretty well. I have some adjustments to make for the second go around, but I’m pleased with how it came out.

Baked sweet potato pie with chocolate hazelnut crust
Sweet potato pie fresh out the oven

The chocolate hazelnut crust definitely needs work. I made the bottom layer too thick and left too much off the sides. Jerrelle Guy’s recipe called for a springform pan; I used a regular aluminum pie pan. She said to toast the hazelnut flour on low heat and then add the butter and chocolate chips. I ended up having to turn up the heat to medium to actually get the flour toasted and the pan hot enough to melt the butter and chocolate after turning the heat off. My plan is to start with medium heat and probably leave it on so the chocolate will melt better and cover all the flour more thoroughly. In the cookbook, the coloring on the crust looks a little more well-combined.

I also might chicken out and just use regular crust, but we’ll see. 

I was nervous about combining everything in the blender because what I thought would happen, did happen: all the spices weren’t evenly dispersed. I tasted a batch after I put the pie in the oven (I know, I know. I’ll be tasting before I bake next time.) and it tasted sweet, but the pie didn’t taste as sweet. There was natural sweetness since I roasted the potatoes in the oven, but it needed a little more. Now I also could have used too many big potatoes. I thought they were medium and she recommended 4-5 medium sweet potatoes. So I’m thinking about sticking with 3 potatoes about the same size I used this time. My plan is to blend the sweet potatoes and then add the sugar, nutmeg, etc. so that it is more evenly distributed. Then I’ll taste and add more if necessary.

Sweet potato pie with chocolate hazelnut crust before it's baked. A lighter orange than the baked pie.
Before the oven

This recipe only calls for a little nutmeg and no cinnamon. I’m thinking about adding more nutmeg and cinnamon on Turkey Day. Thinking about past pies, we’re used to some more spice.

The one ingredient I questioned I actually ended up loving: orange zest and orange juice. I bought a microplane because I really didn’t like the zester I had. It added a brightness to the pie that I liked, but some pieces tasted more orangey than others and I definitely want that more balanced. 

The actual baking time went well. It was done in 50 minutes. I let it cool for about 30 minutes and then put it in the fridge overnight. I think sitting it in the fridge for a few hours will work fine too. Most of the time we usually just eat the pie after it’s cool.

My dad and I are the big sweet potato pie lovers and while I like trying new flavors, I’m not sure he’s going to go for the crust. I think he’ll like the filling with everything balanced.  

I’ll share some pics of the real Thanksgiving pie if everything goes well. I already warned them to get a backup pie just in case. 

In honor of National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo, my writing advice is to try to write everyday for at least a week. The goal for NaNoWriMo is writing everyday for a month to end up with 50,000 words. So if you missed the start like me, just try writing something everyday for a week. It can be for one project or several. It’s a good way to get out of self-editing and just focus on getting words out. And to my NaNoWriMo warriors, you’re amazing!! I’ll try to get back in the running next year. 

As always, happy baking and happy writing!

Slice of sweet potato pie with chocolate hazelnut crust

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