My first recipe is a homage to Okinawa, where beni-imo, or purple yams, are often baked into tarts, churned into ice cream, or fried into tempura. Beni-imo is practically impossible to come by in the States, especially in the Midwest. But I spotted a box of these little gems tucked away in a box at Chinatown Market and had a light bulb moment.
This pie is a far cry from anything you’d find in Okinawa–the graham cracker crust and lemon curd give it undeniably American vibes. Purple sweet potatoes tend to be a smidge stickier than your regular orange sweet potato, so I was worried it would turn out to be too dense. Not so. Everything works out very nicely: crunchy graham cracker crust, zingy lemon curd, nutty and light potato chiffon. Plus, have you ever had a purple pie?! I’m happy, guys. Very happy.
Let’s begin. Assemble a small army of ingredients (not all pictured here).
We’ll start with the graham cracker crust: crush those crackers and mix them with butter and sugar until it feels like wet sand. Delicious.
Press that sand into your pie dish and shove it in the oven right along with the potatoes (which we’ve already partially cooked in the microwave). Tip: don’t get so preoccupied with taking pictures that you burn your crust. (Not saying I did that or anything.)
Onto the curd. We’re mixing our ingredients and cooking it in the microwave for 7-minute lemon curd! I tried this for the first time and my mind is blown. So easy.
Now that the potatoes have cooled, we can pick out the good stuff and blend it into a nice smoothie.
Which we will cook and combine with gelatin. And cool again.
Almost there! Gently fold egg whites into the potatoes to achieve the fluffiness factor we’re looking for.
Assemble your pie: curd, then purple potato. Chill.
Look at the fluff! The acid in the lemon curd turned the purple potato into a beautiful pink. Unintentional ombré–I ain’t mad.
Eat it for breakfast! That’s what I did.
PURPLE SWEET POTATO CHIFFON PIE WITH LEMON CURD
For the crust
10 full graham cracker sheets
1/4 cup sugar
5 tablespoons butter
pinch of salt
For the lemon curd
1 cup lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
1 cup granulated white sugar
4 tablespoons butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
For the sweet potato filling
2 cups purple sweet potato
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 teaspons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1/8 teaspoons salt
3 egg yolks
4 egg whites
3 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
1. Make the crust and cook the potatoes
Preheat oven to 350°F. Crush graham crackers finely. Melt butter in a medium bowl, add the cracker crumbs, sugar, and salt. Mix. The texture should be like wet sand. Press into a 9” pie plate.
Clean potatoes and pierce them all over with a fork. Microwave them all together on high for 5 minutes. Place them in a baking dish. Bake the potatoes and the crust for 12-14 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
2. Make the curd
Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a medium bowl. Add sugar, lemon juice, and eggs. Combine thoroughly. Microwave on high for one-minute intervals, stirring after each minute. Do this about 7 times, or until the curd sticks to the back of a spoon. Let cool.
3.Make the potato filling
Cut open the potatoes and scoop the meat into a medium bowl. Add cream, ½ sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, and egg yolks. Blend until smooth.
In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water and let sit for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook the potato mixture in a small pan for about five minutes over medium heat, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and add the gelatin mixture. Transfer into a bowl and let cool. (I put mine in the freezer for about 30 minutes, giving it a good stir every 10 minutes.)
In a large bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of sugar with 4 egg whites and beat until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold egg whites into the cooled potato mixture.
4. Assemble the pie
Spoon the chilled curd into the crust. Add the potato filling. Chill for at least 6 hours. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream.
**If you’re weirded out by the raw egg whites, I have two solutions for you. 1) substitute 6 tablespoons of pasteurized egg white mixture or 2) combine the egg whites and sugar over a double boiler. Mix vigorously until the temperature reaches 150 degrees F. Take it off the heat and continue to whisk until you see those peaks. Results will be the same. I would’ve done this, except I’m lazy and like to live on the edge.