A flavorful change from the eternal pumpkin pie, sweet potato tart is as southern as you can get. This version is loosely based on one by Leah Chase, proprietor of the Dooky Chase restaurant in New Orleans. Here's a video clip of the tart I recently did on Better TV:
One 10-inch tart, about 8 to 10 servings
SWEET PASTRY DOUGH
1 cup all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Large pinch salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cold, cut into 8 pieces
1 large egg
3 medium sweet potatoes, about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Large pinch freshly grated nutmeg
3 large eggs
1 cup light cream or half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sweetened whipped cream and lightly toasted pecan halves for serving
One 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom
- For the dough, pulse dry ingredients in food processor and add butter. Pulse to mix in finely. Add egg and pulse to form a ball. Roll dough on a floured surface and line pan, pressing well against the bottom and side. Chill crust while preparing filling.
- Set racks in the lowest level and upper third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees.
- Bake the sweet potatoes on the upper rack until they are tender and feel soft when pressed with a fingertip at the thickest part, about an hour. Cool the sweet potatoes and peel them, trimming away any dry spots on the pointed ends.
- Place the sweet potatoes in a shallow bowl and use a potato masher to reduce them to a heavy puree. Stir in the sugar and spices.
- Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, followed by the cream and vanilla.
- Pour the filling into the prepared crust.
- Place the tart on the lowest rack of the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until the edge of the crust is deep golden and the filling is set, about 25 minutes.
- Cool the tart on a rack and unmold it. Slide the tart from the pan bottom to a platter. Serve at room temperature topping each portion with whipped cream and a pecan half.