We are so excited Patti LaBelle is headlining our Gala Event on October 11. We are celebrating by serving up to you something sweet.
LaBelle is a not only the “godmother of soul,” but she is an actress, entrepreneur, author and … our girl can cook, too!
A celebrated author, LaBelle has written six books: Don’t Block the Blessings, LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About, Patti’s Pearls, Patti LaBelle’s Lite Cuisine, Recipes for the Good Life and Desserts LaBelle. As an entrepreneur, she launched Patti’s Good Life, a food and lifestyle brand that features a variety of frozen comfort foods, breakfast items and desserts, including her world-famous sweet potato pie.
This is the perfect time of year to tuck into this songstress’ famous pie.
This recipe makes a light-textured pie, not too sweet and with a nice spice flavor, with a flaky and tender crust. In LaBelle's 1999 cookbook, she called this Norma's Black-Bottom Sweet Potato Pie. "Black-bottom" is a reference to the technique of baking the crust first with a little brown sugar on it
8-10 servings; makes one 9-inch pie
FOR THE CRUST
- 1 1/2 cups flour, plus more for the work surface
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup butter-flavored vegetable shortening, chilled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup ice water
- 1 tablespoon melted unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
FOR THE FILLING
- 3 large orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, scrubbed
- 7 tablespoons (most of 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup half-and-half
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
For the crust: Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl. Add the shortening. Use a fork or a pastry blender to cut the shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few pea-size bits.
Stirring with the fork, gradually add enough of the water until the mixture clumps together (you might need more or less water). Gather up the dough and press it into a thick disk. If desired, wrap the dough in wax paper or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour, and as long as three days.
Lightly flour a work surface. Place the chilled dough on it; roll out to a round that's 13 inches across. Fold the dough in half.
Transfer to the pie plate; gently unfold the dough to fit into it. Trim the dough as needed to leave a 1-inch overhang. (Bake or reserve the scraps for another use.)
Fold the dough under itself so the edge of the fold is flush with the edge of the pan. Flute the dough around the edge of the pan. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you start the filling (and up to 1 hour).
For the filling: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add a generous pinch of salt, then the sweet potatoes. Reduce the heat to medium; cook until the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Drain the sweet potatoes, letting them fall into a colander. Run under cold water until cool enough to handle. Discard the skins; transfer the cooked sweet potatoes to a mixing bowl. Use a hand-held electric mixer to blend until creamy and smooth. You'll need 3 cups for the filling; scoop out the remainder and reserve for another use.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Uncover the pie shell; brush the interior with the 1 tablespoon of melted butter. Sprinkle the 1/4 cup of brown sugar over the bottom of the pie shell. Par-bake until the crust is set and just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. (If the pie shell puffs, do not prick it.) Let it cool.
Meanwhile, add the 7 tablespoons of melted butter, brown sugar, the granulated sugar, eggs, half-and-half, cinnamon and nutmeg to the pureed sweet potatoes. Beat on medium speed until well incorporated.
Pour into the par-baked pie shell, smoothing the surface. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake (middle rack) until a knife inserted in the center of the filling comes out clean yet the filling still jiggles a bit, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to serve.
Adapted from LaBelle Cuisine: Recipes to Sing About, by Patti LaBelle (Clarkson Potter, 1999).
Purchase tickets for An Evening with Patti LaBelle at SinfoniaGulfCoast.org.