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« Crack Pie (via Momofuku Bakery & Milk Bar) | Pie Month | Main | Lime Pie with Gingersnap Crust (via Magnolia Bakery) | Pie Month »

Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream and Warm Bourbon on the Side (via Four & Twenty Blackbirds) | Pie Month

This is the 12th entry in our Month of Pie. Pie Month is a celebration of things we love. Because life is hard, and there should always be more pie. Have a look at the other entries. Really. 
Pie #4 - Peanut Butter Cream Pie with Chocolate Whipped Cream
Pie #5 - Butterscotch Cream Pie with Gingersnap Crust and Cashew Brittle
Pie #6 - Banana Cream Pie with Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust
Pie #7 - Chocolate Kahlua Pie
Pie #8 - Bacon and Egg Pizza
Pie #9 - Pork Confit Pie with Creme Fraiche Potatoes and Puff Pastry
Pie #10 - Raspberry Pie and the Perfect Pie Crust
Pie #11 - Lime Pie with Gingersnap Crust 
This pie begins in total fail. It ends in triumph.

I forgot to put the sweet potato into this sweet potato pie. I had prepared the sweet potatoes the day before I baked the pie. Thinking ahead. Using my time wisely. Good on me. Trying to impress Karen, really. I’ve got this pie under control, dear. Completely under control.

I had wanted to make a pie from the infamous Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn. They are pie masters, and if I was going to make anyone’s pie, a sweet potato pie, it had to be theirs. Bourbon is used liberally in this pie, as it should be used in most things. When I went to Gary’s Wine in Madison to get some bourbon, the guy on the floor asked me what I was making (I had griled him about small batch vs. big label bourbon, the differences in quality and taste). When I told him it was for a bourbon sweet potato pie, he stood very still, looked a bit into the distance and said, “Oh. Wow. That sounds incredible.” 

And so I made the Four & Twenty Blackbirds' crust, beautiful flakes of butter throughout the dough. It was going to be great. Then I mixed what would be the pie guts, heavy with bourbon and spice. Par-baked the crust, just as the recipe said. It looked like a winner. I put the filling into the crust, slid it into the oven, closing the latch with a certain satisfaction.

As I was cleaning up the kitchen, my eye spied a medium-sized bowl. Wait, why is that bowl sitting there? That’s the sweet potato bowl. And there they sat, their orange surfaces turning brown, slowly, as if they knew they’d been left behind. 

There were expletives. The kids were taking naps. So there were expletives.

Grabbing the hot pads, I flew to the oven, undid the safety latch, and saw the beautiful crust being swallowed up by the bourbon sugar pond in the middle. Game over, pie crust.

Pie fail.


Until I remembered I had made extra pie crust from Melissa Clark. You know, that perfect pie crust? With the duck fat? Even in failure, I still had this situation under control. I poured the bourbon sugar pond into the sweet potatoes, threw away the now-soggy pie crust, and began rolling out Melissa’s crust. It behaved perfectly, like it had heard the expletives from inside the refrigerator. Par-baked it just as instructed in the Four & Twenty Blackbird recipe. Whisked together the sweet potatoes with the bourbon and sugar (which as noticeably thicker with sweet potatoes included, go figure).

And the pie was perfect. Set up just right. Tasted of depth and caramel sweetness. And a little kick of bourbon.

After that adventure in failure, I needed more bourbon. So I made some bourbon whipped cream (cream whipped without sugar, some bourbon splashed in). And that was a great touch. 

But I needed more bourbon.

I looked at Karen and said, “I want to dip this in warm bourbon.” Which really has to make a wife proud. A bit of bourbon in a small bowl. 10 seconds in the microwave. A dip into the rich brown liquid with the tip of the pie, then a dip into the whipped bourbon cream. 

And this is pie. A triumph out of failure. A boozy victory. A perfect pie.

recipe | Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie (via Four & Twenty Blackbirds and Bon Appetit) + Bourbon Whipped Cream and Warm Bourbon for Dipping

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Reader Comments (8)

Dude, you're killing me.

Killing. Me.

Gah ... where's my Maker's Mark ...

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark E. Johnson

Love this. Love. Sweet potato pie has to be my favorite, really. And I think I must make this one. Love the story too, by the way. ;)

January 28, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaty

Would you like some pie with your Bourbon? All I got out of this post was Bourbon. Haha! I love it! Your writing style had me laughing and I absolutely loved this one. Recently I read a post about how alcohol doesn't really cook off completely and blah blah blah... hopefully this was an adult's only dessert or the kids ended up sleeping really good that night and you both got caught up on some much needed sleep. Haha!

January 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPretend Chef

Too funny that you forgot the sweet potatoes. Wondering if you were sampling the bourbon too much in the prep stages of the pie! It looks wonderful and only you would throw a bit of bourbon in the whipped cream. Did you happen to save a slice for the fella at Gary's Wine? I have no doubt that he would have found it just as he thought, incredible.

January 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaula

I am loving all of your pies!

January 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMaria

whipped cream, especially w/alcohol, takes everything to a whole new level - LOVE THIS PIE!!!

January 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSMITH BITES

Wow... Just wow. Looks fabulous!

January 29, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen @ My Kitchen Addiction

We already love pie, but sweet potato is one of our favorites. We have enjoyed following your pie entries and look forward to seeing more.

We invite you to share this and other posts on Food Frenzy." rel="nofollow">

January 30, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFood Frenzy

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