Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie with Bourbon Whipped Cream and Warm Bourbon on the Side (via Four & Twenty Blackbirds) | Pie Month
Friday, January 28, 2011 at 8:13PM
thepeche in Bourbon Sweet Potato Pie, Four and Twenty Blackbirds, Melissa Clark, 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 #1 - Lemon Cream Icebox Pie
Pie #2 - Malted Crisp Tart
Pie #3 - Apple Green-Chili Pie with Cheddar Crust and Walnut Streusel
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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