Sprouted Red Fife & Yogurt Crust Japanese Sweet Potato Pie
This Sprouted Red Fife & Yogurt Crust Japanese Sweet Potato Pie is kind of a mouthful of a title, but you wont be disappointed when you have a mouthful of it. The pleasantly flaky and gritty crust and ultra smooth custardy filling are a match made in heaven. And it’s one pie your body will thank you for this Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving it right around the corner and I’m so excited to share one more pie recipe with you! This is my first year trying the sweet potato pie route rather than pumpkin, and I have to say, I’m a convert.
Because sweet potatoes are naturally so much sweeter than pumpkin, you can use significantly less sugar, and that’s always a win in my book. As I often do, I went with coconut palm sugar instead of other sweetener alternatives. I do love raw honey and pure maple syrup, but I didn’t want to compromise the texture by adding a liquid sweetener. And I’m confident it was the right choice. Coconut palm sugar has such a rich, caramel flavor to it that added so much depth to the custard, but it’s low on the glycemic index, which means no blood sugar spike. So you can completely blame the turkey for the post-thanksgiving feast crash;)
Most custard-based pies call for evaporated milk in the filling. Evaporated milk is
supposedly just fresh milk that’s had 60% of water removed. The problem is that it’s not quite that simple when you look at the ingredient list on the back of the can. So I opted for something different, and super flavorful: coconut milk. Now, since we’re trying to mimic the composition of evaporated milk, this is not the time or place for light coconut milk, which is essentially just watered down coconut milk. Plus, you know me, I never do low fat. Just keep in mind that not all coconut milk is the same quality. I suggest going for a brand with a short ingredient list (preferably just coconut and water, but with a slight tolerance for organic guar gum). My favorite happens to be the organic generic brand at a local grocery store, but this is a more readily available favorite. And I should mention that I’m not talking about the beverage-type coconut milk. You know, the kind you use in place of milk on your cereal. I’m talking about the rich, creamy, canned (or sometimes they come in a small carton) kind.
Sweet potatoes. I love Japanese sweet potatoes, also called Satsuma-imo. They have purple skins and bright yellow flesh. Growing up in Japan, I loved when the air turned crisp because it meant that the yaki-imo vendor would start going around town with this cart, selling coal-roasted sweet potatoes. Whenever I heard his song, I’d beg my mom for some money and go out in the street and buy some. I loved to just peel and eat them piping hot, right there. It’s such a nostalgic flavor for me, and I was giddy when I found some at my local food co-op here. Of course, if you can’t find Japanese sweet potatoes, you can use the beautiful orange-fleshed kind that’s more readily available in the U.S. The flavor is subtly different, and the texture is a little more moist, but it should still work really well.
Let’s talk crust for a second. First of all, sprouted red fife. If you’re a frequent visitor of this blog, you know that I don’t do whole grains that haven’t been soaked, sprouted, or soured. If you want to know more about that, you can see my previous post on the subject. So I don’t recommend using plain old whole wheat flour for this recipe. My sourdough pie crust makes a really rich, fully-flavored pie crust, but sometimes you want a cleaner-tasting, gentle backdrop to highlight the filling. Which is where this sprouted flour comes in. Sprouting reduces dangerous anti-nutrients in your grains, while still allowing you to enjoy that nutty flavor and gritty texture that’s so enjoyable with whole grain. And this is a fantastic option because they’ve done the work of sprouting and milling for you. Just remember that with whole grain flours, it’s best to keep them stored in your freezer and use it up quickly as they lost precious nutrients quickly.
I also feel like I should point out that any sprouted wheat would be fantastic for this crust. I liked the particular nuances in red fife, but Khorasan, Spelt, Einkorn, and even your typical hard red or white would make fantastic options. (Though especially with wheat, I try to stick with heirloom and ancient varieties)
Oh, and one last important thing about this recipe. I used yogurt instead of vinegar or water. I loved the tang, and the acid prevents gluten development, which means a tender, flaky crust that’s pliable and easy to work with. I was amazed at how easy it was to roll out and shape. I think this might be my new favorite pie crust trick.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends!
- 1.5 cups sprouted red fife flour (or other sprouted whole wheat flour)
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, preferably grassfed, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon unrefined fine sea salt
- 8~12 tablespoons whole milk plain yogurt
- 2 Japanese sweet potatoes
- 1 13.5 oz can of coconut milk (do not use light coconut milk)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon groundcinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon soy sauce, preferably non-GMO and organic
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Place your sweet potatoes on a baking sheet and roast for 45~60 minutes, depending on the size. To check for doneness, prick with a fork and it should meet no resistance. Scoop out the flesh and discard the skins. Reserve 2 cups of the flesh and save the rest for another use.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, butter, salt, and coconut sugar. Cut together with a pastry blender or butter knives or a fork until combined. Your biggest pieces of butter should be about the size of a pea. Stir in the yogurt, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is craggy but comes together easily when squeezed. The amount you use will depend on how thin your yogurt is. Gather the dough together into a ball and press into a 6 inch disc. Cover tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F. Add 2 cups of the sweet potato flesh, and the rest of the ingredients to a blender pitcher and blend until smooth.
- Place the chilled dough on a lightly floured surface and roll out into a 12 inch circle. Gently roll the dough around a rolling pin and place over an 11 inch quiche pan or deep dish pie plate. Trim to hang over the pan by roughly 3/4 of an inch. Fold the edge under before crimping the edge as desired. Pour in the filling and smooth the top.
- Bake at 375°F for 10 minutes and then drop the temperature to 325°F and bake for an additional 50~60 minutes until the center barely giggles when shaken gently. Let cool completely before serving.