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I’ll take another slice!

Famous last words of holiday foodies dead-set on fully satisfying the one thing that remains bigger than their britches, that being their appetites for the next tasty mouthful.  Nibblin, savoring every bite and stashing away that last slice; yes, its harvest time!  Time to adjust that belt buckle and push up to the buffet of traditional eats and treats.  Time to get that poker-facing “recipe talk” ready for those serious cooks who’ve been waiting all year to hear you say, “Ooo Wee Ms. Luanne this is THEEEE BEST piece of pie I’ve ever eaten in my life!” Recipe talk— you know the “this recipe has been in my family for a 100+ years.  And, I only got it after my grandmother (God rest her soul) was on her death bed.  And thank goodness, I was quick enough to scribble it down on my hand…” kinda talk. The Story - [a fictional snapshot scene from a Pie Social back in the days of Martin Luther King Jr. and the times of competitive Southern bourgeois cooks “Cookin Hawks” (a name inspired by the blackbirds depicted in the “Peace Through Pie” poster pictured to the right).  You are instructed to read this short story with your best Southern voice and character in mind]:
“My Sweet Potato Pie has a secret ingredient that you just can’t get from around here,” is my opening line as I join the chatter surrounding the proclamations of coveted family recipe talk.  I push “My Sweet Potato Pie” to the center of attention.  Watchin those Cookin Hawks starrin my pie down, sizing it up for color and crust, I firmly take hold of the pie server ready to show and prove.  “This pie is tried and true,” I say quite frankly.  I see em’ those Cookin Hawks perking up as if to say, “Well now, we’ll be the judge of that!”  Wavin my hand in a stopping motion, I raise my voice, “But first, my favorite seasonal friends, I’ve got to have the right plate, cause you just can’t put this pie on any ole piece of glass laying around here.”  I pull out my plates, coordinated of course, for the grand finale.  Silence is deadly. Not a squawk out of those Cookin Hawks!  And that’s when I know, I’ve got em’ again!  With the sound of nuthin but forks hittin plates, it’s a perfect time to break up that chiming rhythm.  And I proceed “Well friends we are gathered here today at this wonderful Pie Social and since it is Thanksgiving and all.  I’m happy to share my secret ingredient this one time.”  Cookin Hawks lean In, ready to record my every word.  Well now, I simply tear open a big brown paper sack full of what looks like a bunch of dirt caked-up rocks.  Taken completely by surprise, “hmmm” chirp those Cookin Hawks.  Now, smiling the biggest winning smile I say, “I grow my own and you my friends can rinse them yourself!”  “Ha Haa!”  Rufflin my own feathers as I turn away from the dumbfounded Cookin Hawks, I hear one of them say those famous last words, “I’ll take another slice!”
          More than a mouthful, Chef Tarsha is a brand; a fully vested member of new school entrepreneurs doing it all, exploring their varied passions and getting noticed!  

Chef Tarsha’s Signature Sweet Potato Pie


  • 2 large (or 4 medium) Sweet Potatoes (pre-bake ahead  - roasted in the oven at 400degrees until fully cooked)
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (melted)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • Juice of 1 orange (fresh squeezed)
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 Tbsp Pure Orange Extract
  • 1 Tbsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 Tbsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 4 Tbsp Ground Nutmeg (freshly ground is the preferred but not required)
  • 2 – deep dish 9” Pie Crusts (see recipe below or in a pinch use good store brought pie shells)
  Preheat oven to 350F In an electric stand mixer with the paddle attachment, remove the skins from your pre-baked sweet potatoes and place into your mixer.  Turn mixer on low speed to break up the potatoes gradually increasing the speed to medium allow your mixer to whip the potatoes for approximately 2 minutes.  The secret to this recipe is a super smooth potato mixture so let the mixer do the work. Turn off the mixer and lift the head to expose the paddle and remove any sweet potato strings that may be collected on the paddle or in the mixture.  Once you have mixed sweet potatoes long enough any stringy consistency of the potato will be easily removed (again this is the problem with many similar recipes and that is the fact that people to not remove the strings and do not mix the potato well enough). Add cinnamon, nutmeg, orange juice, orange zest and orange and vanilla extracts to the potato mixture - continue mixing for another 1 minute.  Add sugar and melted butter - continue mixing for another 2 minutes.  Add eggs – continue mixing for another 4 minutes. Pour and separate filling equally into two prepared pie crusts.  Bake for approximately 30 minutes then rotate the pie to ensure even cooking and heat distribution.  Bake for another 15 minutes.  Remove pies from the oven and allow cooling on a rack. “This Sweet Potato Pie recipe is not overly sweet with sugar.  It’s designed to highlight the flavor of sweet potato enhanced by warm spices and notes of citrus.  For me, I like “My Sweet Potato Pie” served cold with a generous dollop of freshly whipped cream.  – Bon appétit  Baby!!”  


Put the flour, salt and sugar into a food processor and pulse once or twice. Add the butter and process until the mixture looks grainy.  Then slowly, while pulsing, add the water until you can form the dough by pressing it between your fingers.  Remove the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap. Using the wrap, fold the dough towards the middle and press with the back of your hands to form dough. Split into two pieces and wrap each piece individually and chill for at least 4 hours before using. Dough can be made up to a week ahead and stored in the freezer until you are ready to use.
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