20 November 09 • MAV

I am hosting Thanksgiving this year for the first time ever. And it would be good for me to tell you now that Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday. So today’s post is part one of a two-part Thanksgiving report. I hope you will enjoy!

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FOOD

In the last few months I have had two outstanding Sweet Potato Pies. One at Freemans and one at Vinegar Hill House. I had never had Sweet Potato Pie before and these tastings sparked a small obsession.

When handing out the Thanksgiving assignment list (we have thirteen adults and two babies at our table and everyone has a job … I’m putting the babies on dish duty) I knew I had to assign myself Sweet Potato Pie, among other things, and these past weeks I have been on the search for just the right recipe.

Thursday I made this recipe, with a few tweaks as listed, (found originally here):

Sweet Potato Pie

1-3/4 C mashed baked sweet potatoes
2 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
1/4 C natural cane sugar
2 T unsalted butter, melted
3/4 t ground cinnamon
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
1/8 t ground nutmeg
1 C milk, at room temperature

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Whisk the sweet potatoes, egg yolks, sugar, butter, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and nutmeg together. Whisk in the milk and blend until well mixed. In a separate bowl whip the egg whites until foamy. Fold them to the sweet potato mix and pour the filling into the pie shell.

Bake for 45 minutes. Cool the pie completely on a rack. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate 6 hours. Serve at room temperature.

To me it came out a bit tasteless and almost too light. Of course that has not stopped us from eating all but one small sliver. My baker friend Naomi (she knows what’s up when it comes to lots of things!) suggested that I remove the sugar entirely subbing in 1/4 C of maple syrup and take out 1/4 C of milk to even out the liquid. We also wanted more nutmeg and cinnamon for certain so here is what my next ingredients list will look like (trying it this Sunday):

Sweet Potato Pie, Take Two

1-3/4 C mashed baked sweet potatoes
2 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
1/4 C maple syrup, at room temperature
2 T unsalted butter, melted
1 t ground cinnamon
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
1/2 t ground nutmeg
3/4 C milk, at room temperature

Same prep directions.

Oh and here is the pastry recipe I use and deeply love (it’s slightly adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks, A Platter of Figs):

Pastry
makes enough for two pies

1-1/2 C unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 C spelt flour
1/2 LB cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 t salt
1 egg, beaten, plus enough ice water to make 1/2 C liquid

Put flour, butter and salt in bowl and with fingers work butter into flour/salt until it looks like bread crumbs. Pour in egg mixture and quickly knead for a minute until it just comes together. Pat to a rectangle, sprinkle with flour, wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Now it is very likely I will be sick of Sweet Potato Pie by the time we sit down to the Thanksgiving table. BUT! I will have made this pie just the way I want it to be and that will be half the battle. More on my pie saga next Friday!

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TABLE

When I sent out the Thanksgiving Menu assignment list one friend wrote back, ‘should we bring our own plates to take leftovers home’? That got me thinking.

I definitely wanted to send everyone home with a plate full of food and I wanted it to be easy. So this week I have popped into thrift stores in town and picked up 13 plates (they ranged in price from $.50–$1.00 each). I will set my table with these plates and let everyone choose their seat. Then when the meal is done we will whisk the plates into the dishwasher and clean it all up. Our plan after the big early meal is to take a long walk coming back to my place again for more relaxation and more food later on in the late evening after the babies are sleeping. So, everyone’s plates will come back out and when people leave and they can pack up their leftovers right onto them heading out into the cold night with a sweet and yummy remembrance of our day together.

My next challenge … linens. I have a few ideas which require little spending and I will report fully next week.

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DETAILS

Oh you know how I like to create a little inspiration model for everything!! I have a noted a couple of inspiring imagery regarding thoughts on my centerpiece (seen above), candlelight, outdoor time and food groupings (seen below). Now you’ll have to see how I did when I show you photographs of our Thanksgiving next week!

I hope you have a wonderful and bountiful week!