I’ve been experimenting. My philosophy is, start with good ingredients that you love, and whatever you make can’t be all bad. (Within reason: I’m not advocating for shrimp in chocolate sauce or anything.) But how about sweet potatoes, with rosemary and goat cheese? Sign me up. I knew I was getting close to something great with this pie when one of my taste testers said, “Oh, wow. I could eat this several times a day.” Whoohoo!
My savory-sweet potato experiment began because I always think sweet potatoes have such great potential for a savory dish—they’re sweet, but mellow—and because I love pie as an entrée. I just couldn’t find another savory sweet potato pie recipe out there.
I think I’ve hit on a pretty good combination. First there’s the crispy, robust half-whole-wheat crust with fragrant olive oil, made with Hodgson Mill Naturally White Flour and Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour. The robust, nutty whole wheat in the crust complements the hearty sweet potatoes and beans, and helps the crust stand up to them, too – this is a very packable pie. (A slice of it will keep its shape through a commute, I can attest.)
Inside, the creamy texture and sweetness of the sweet potato and cannellini beans is balanced by the acidity and bite of the mustard and fragrant rosemary and thyme. And the tangy browned goat cheese on top rounds it all out. Each bite is complex and interesting . . . and pretty darned tasty.
Pies can seem like a time commitment, what with crust-making and chilling, potato-roasting and cooling. (They’re always worth it, though.) You’ll save a bit of time if you pick up a can of pureed sweet potato, but you’ll miss out on the wonderful caramel aroma they make when they’re roasting and getting soft and juicy. To save time on baking day, you can always roast the sweet potatoes a day or two ahead—they peel easier after cooling completely anyway.
And if you do the math — one pound of sweet potatoes, nearly a pound of beans, some eggs, milk, oil, goat cheese – that’s a whopping TWO POUNDS OF PIE. (Delicious pie.) That’s some bang for your buck. You could feed a small army like we frequently do, at our family Thanksgiving and holiday meals. If I make it for myself, I could eat it for a week.
This is a great vegetarian option for Thanksgiving dinner, or a savory brunch offering. It leaves you very satisfied without that “what-have-I-done” post-Thanksgiving feeling.
And if you happen to roast an extra sweet potato or two, put it to good use by checking out my breakfast post from this spring, Multigrain Sweet Potato Date Muffins. You won’t be sorry.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and happy baking!
Savory Sweet Potato and Cannelini Bean Pie with Whole Wheat Olive Oil Crust
1 ¼ cups Hodgson Mill Naturally White Flour
1 cup Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup water
3 cups cooked, peeled sweet potatoes (about 1 pound, or one 15.5 ounce can)
1 15.5 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs, one separated (reserve 1 egg white for crust wash)
¾ cup milk
3-4 Tablespoons stone ground mustard
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped (or ¾ teaspoon dry)
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 Tablespoon dried)
3-4 teaspoons chopped garlic
½ teaspoon dried sage
½ teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces goat cheese
Roast sweet potatoes: Prick sweet potatoes with fork and roast at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes, until you can easily spear through to middle with a fork. Let cool and then remove the peel, which should come off very easily once cooled.
Prepare crust: combine flours, baking powder, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in olive oil with a fork until mixture resembles bread crumbs, and then add water one tablespoon at a time until dough comes together in a ball. Press the dough into a disk; if it seems dry, add a little more water. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer.
When crust and sweet potatoes are prepared, preheat oven to 400° F.
Prepare filling: using a masher or an electric mixer, combine beans and sweet potatoes in bowl until smooth. Add 2 eggs and 1 yolk, milk, mustard, garlic, olive oil, and spices. Mix well. It will be thick.
Roll out crust. (If this crust seems stubborn or springs back to a disk, let it sit 5-10 minutes and try again. It will give.) Lay out crust in 9″ pie pan and finish edges. (For directions on making an extra fancy but easy pie crust edge, check out Holly’s Ultimate Pumpkin Pie recipe from last year.)
Pour sweet potato/bean mixture into prepared pie crust. Crumble goat cheese evenly over the top of the filling, and gently press on decorative cutouts made of extra crust if desired. Mix last egg white with 1 Tablespoon water and brush on all exposed bits of crust.
Bake 20 minutes ( a lower rack is best to keep the bottom crust crisp) at 400° F, then reduce heat to 350° F, protect crust with tin foil or crust shield, and cook 30 more minutes until goat cheese is browned and top of filling is somewhat solid and cracking. Let cool slightly, then serve warm.
Notes: Makes 8 servings. Will keep 2-3 days tightly wrapped in refrigerator. Excellent for reheating and travels well, so it’s great as leftovers for lunch at work.