Hello Pie!

(Sweet potato ‘pie’ with black sesame)

I love Mr. Sweet Potato. He is especially dirt cheap at the moment, which enables me to pretend that I am living a budget lifestyle despite all the butter and chocolate that I buy.

This dessert, sanctioned by Mr. Sweet Potato, started out as a budget piece of sweet potato cake. It got me thinking about sweet potato pie, which alas, I have never made or tasted. However I feel I know this particular pie’s purpose or meaning, without having tasted it. Sweet potato is comfort food. As kids, we snacked on steamed slices of sweet potato and tapioca dipped in granulated sugar.

These days, some people happily pay a lot of money in restaurants to eat luxury examples of such comfort food. At best, it is playful and you smile when you feel that thrill of recognising something from your past. At it’s most successful, it should also be so delicious that it is capable of standing as a dish on it’s own right. I hope to achieve something close to that calibre one day, but in the meantime, I taste, smile and remember.

There are flavours of maple, cinnamon, caramel, vanilla, walnut and black sesame in this dessert, along with textures of rich custard, crunchy tuile, buttery crumble, moist cake and silky ice-cream. Black sesame isn’t exactly traditional in this pie, but I thought it would go well with the sweet potato. A recipe listing each individual component would be too lengthy, so I’m only including the star component that instigated the entire dish. It is certainly worth the money in your pocket to bake and partake in :

Sweet Potato Cake :
(from Dessert by David Everitt-Matthias)

for the syrup :
110ml water
75g caster sugar
juice of 1/4 lemon

for the sweet potato cake :
50g unsalted butter
2 eggs
200g soft brown sugar
100ml sunflower oil
200g self-raising flour
5g baking powder
300g sweet potatoes, peeled and grated
1/2 banana, mashed
grated zest of 1/2 orange
75g walnuts, chopped
75g green raisins

To make the syrup, put the water, sugar and lemon juice into a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for a few minutes then remove from the heat and leave to cool.

For the cake, heat the butter in a small frying pan until it starts to turn brown and smells nutty. Leave to cool. Place the eggs in a mixing bowl with the sugar and whisk until pale and thick. Slowly drizzle in the oil and then the butter as if making mayonnaise, whisking all the time. Sift the flour and baking powder together and fold them into the egg mixture. Add all the remaining ingredients except the icing sugar and mix lightly. Transfer the mixture to a greased, lined 30 x 20 x 3cm baking tray and place in an oven preheated to 180’C. Bake for 40 minutes – 1 hour, until a knife inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool a little, then remove it from the tin, lightly prick it all over and douse with syrup. Leave to cool completely.

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  1. Minh said,

    May 20, 2009 @ 10:56 pm

    Oh that first photo is amazing! I love the angle you shot at <3 Sounds like a great combo of flavours.

  2. Tracey C. (SugarPunk) said,

    May 20, 2009 @ 11:28 pm

    How creative! You’re always so inspiring.

  3. Laura said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 12:07 am

    How creative! I used to make a sesame praline that was hard not to snack on at one restaurant I worked. We used it to pair with ice cream.

    Looks so yummy!

  4. Manggy said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 2:11 am

    I haven’t tasted sweet potato pie either! Not exactly a fan of sweet potatoes. But when you enumerated the flavors… Maple, cinnamon, caramel, vanilla, walnut… It just emerged more and more in my mind as a must-try ๐Ÿ™‚ And, of course, there is that stunning presentation you have!

  5. Jen Yu said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 2:15 am

    Oh my oh my! You are just brilliant and I loooove the plating. I don’t cook with sweet potato very often (okay, hardly ever) but I think you have changed my thinking on that. Will have to make more when autumn rolls around over here. Buttery crumble… mmmmmmm ๐Ÿ™‚ xxoo

  6. chriesi said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 2:46 am

    wow gorgeous!!!!

  7. prettytastycakes said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 3:15 am

    Wow. What a stunning, playful composition! The flavors sound amazing, too…

  8. helen said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 3:45 am

    So beautiful!

    I love a charcoal roasted sweet potato/yam (yes, I know they’re not technically the same). A bite into it, and I feel like a kid again.

    That black sesame ice cream looks too tempting. Did you make that too?

  9. CakeSpy said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 4:51 am

    This is awesome. I love the “deconstructed” style. Very cool…and tasty!

  10. snooky doodle said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 5:05 am

    wow what a wonderful and interesting dessert.

  11. Shellyfish said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 5:33 am

    Beautiful photos – just stunning. I also really like the artistic presentation. I love everything and anything sweet potato, so I would love this.

  12. Steph said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 8:25 am

    Another amazing plate, I’m always in awe of your creations Y ๐Ÿ™‚ Sounds like a beautiful combination of textures and flavours. I adore sweet potato, it has given the cake that wonderful colour. Steamed sweet potato with tapioca and sugar sounds like the best snack!

  13. Juliana said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 9:19 am

    Wow, this is really nice, very creative and the pictures are just great. Love sweet potatoes…tapioca…I can only imagine how it tastes. By the way, thank you for visiting my site.

  14. shez said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 9:22 am

    ahhh, i read your title before the picture loaded and immediately said “hello!”

    and then your pictures loaded and i was all “oh! well hello…” looks wonderfully tasty and earthy and subtly-sweet Y.

  15. Arwen from Hoglet K said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 9:59 am

    I love spicy pumpkin pie, so a sweet potato pie with maple syrup sounds very attractive! LOL at the budget lifestyle with the sweet potatoes. I guess if you save on the swings you can spend on the roundabouts.

  16. The Duo Dishes said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 10:52 am

    Beyond the beyonds of creativity! We love sweet potatoes to death, so anything featuring these babies is a winner.

  17. Reemski said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 12:00 pm

    I just had to do a “depth of field” exercise for my photography class, then I open up your page and there is the most gorgeous example…beautiful and creative as always.

  18. Betty said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 12:04 pm

    I love sweet potato! Your presentation looks beautiful! I wouldn’t know whether to eat it or keep admiring it’s beauty ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Caitlin said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 12:16 pm

    I was going to be very angry with you if you didn’t include the recipe for sweet potato cake – it sounds amazing! And beautiful, of course. I really like the black sesame usage.

  20. anna said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 12:59 pm

    That’s incredible! I love all those flavors. I usually go for pumpkin over sweet potato in desserts, but I love baked sweet potatoes with butter, cinnamon and sugar. I love the idea of the black sesame, too.

  21. Sophie said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 7:38 pm

    Hello, How creative you are!! When are you going to publish a book or so?
    Or open your own patisserie? With those talents & your hard work, you can go far,….

  22. Anita said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 8:56 pm

    Beautiful presentation and photos!! Never heard of a sweet potato cake… looks lovely

  23. Megan {Feasting on Art} said,

    May 21, 2009 @ 9:13 pm

    This is so unique and so beautiful!! Love your photographs.

  24. Zita said,

    May 22, 2009 @ 4:45 am

    *mouth opening wide*
    First: it’s very pretty, I would become one of those people who would pay a lot for a comfort food like this… this is not just food Y..it’s ART ๐Ÿ˜‰
    2nd: “pretend that I am living a budget lifestyle despite all the butter and chocolate that I buy”…LOL too, only butter & chocolate???
    3rd: Black sesame ice cream? recipe please ๐Ÿ™‚
    4th: What’s the white small amout of crumble?

  25. cakebrain said,

    May 22, 2009 @ 7:16 am

    wow! that looks amazing! It looks as if you could start on one side of the dessert “road” and taste the scenery all along the way! gorgeous pics!

  26. matt wright said,

    May 22, 2009 @ 8:02 am

    WOW. what a fantastically modern looking desert. Love the sweet potato element, the presentation is outstanding, and the photography a thing of beauty.

  27. erin @ dessert girl said,

    May 22, 2009 @ 9:41 am

    Yum! I LOVE sweet potatoes! A friend of mine recently told me that her husband hates sweet potatoes. How can you hate sweet potaotes?? It’s like eating candy!

  28. cathy x. said,

    May 22, 2009 @ 10:23 am

    wow that looks amazing. i sure hope i’m as good as you one day. ๐Ÿ˜›
    fingers crossed you open your own dessert bar soon!

  29. M said,

    May 22, 2009 @ 4:08 pm

    Yum! Can I expect some of this when I meet with you tomorrow ? ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. gine said,

    May 22, 2009 @ 7:37 pm

    Sweet potato!!! I Love sweet potato :-)!!!

  31. pea and pear said,

    May 22, 2009 @ 7:48 pm

    You’re killing me. That looks so delicious!!!

  32. Julia @ Mรฉlanger said,

    May 22, 2009 @ 8:58 pm

    I am shaking my head wondering how you do this? How do you manage to put together such amazingly creative dishes? This looks incredible. I could have referenced a million different food sources over and over and still not come up with something like this. Amazing.

  33. Vera said,

    May 23, 2009 @ 2:19 am

    Wow… this is something! Y, I’m simply speechless… gorgeous!

  34. Elyse said,

    May 23, 2009 @ 5:09 am

    That black sesame is just gorgeous!! And your sweet potato cake looks amazing. I can’t wait to try out the recipe–especially considering how cheap sweet potatoes are right now (not to mention, they’re always super delicious!). Great job!

  35. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said,

    May 23, 2009 @ 8:24 am

    The sweet potato cake looks just like a piece of steamed sweet potato! I remember living in Tokyo and instead of Mr Whippy vans they’d have baked sweet potato vans selling piping hot sweet potatoes during the freezing Winter singing this creepy song “Iiiimmmmo” (imo).

  36. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said,

    May 23, 2009 @ 8:31 am

    If anyone wants a listen, this is a link to the song that the Sweet Potato van plays in Japan. They’re singing “Yaki Imo” (grilled sweet potato). http://www.antipixel.com/blog/archives/audio/yaki-imo.mp3

  37. foodlibrarian said,

    May 24, 2009 @ 1:32 am

    This looks so beautiful. So so beautiful!!!

  38. Y said,

    May 24, 2009 @ 7:56 pm

    Laura : Sesame praline is dangerously addictive.

    Jen Yu : Me neither, but lately, I’ve been really getting into it. 50% of it being due to how cheap it is, of course.

    Helen : Can just imagine charcoal roasted sweet potato being incredibly delicious! I didn’t make the ice-cream, but when I finally buy an ice-cream maker, I will definitely be making all the ice-creams for the desserts I make here.

    shez : Heh. At least it’s not Oh harro.., as in Team America.

    Arwen : Haven’t heard that phrase before, but I love it.

    anna : I’m a big fan of pumpkin too, but sweet potato makes for a really nice change.

    Zita : Butter and chocolate seem to be my most expensive purchases. Oh, and eggs. The white is a vanilla milk snow (like granita).

    cakebrain : I like the way you think! Would this be a case of drive-by eating?

    M : Oops all gone, sorry! I’ll save you some of what I make next instead.

    Julia @ Mรฉlanger : That’s very kind of you to say, but almost everything we see these days has been done before, in some way or another. I wish I could say it was an original ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lorraine : Thank you for the link, and that little bit of trivia. Love hearing about interesting stuff like that! How are the potatoes served though? In slices/wedges?

  39. noobcook said,

    May 24, 2009 @ 11:03 pm

    Luv your unique and beautiful presentation =)

  40. Forager said,

    May 25, 2009 @ 9:44 am

    Ah, this looks so beautiful! I am always in awe of your food styling.

  41. linda said,

    May 25, 2009 @ 10:10 pm

    Just wow! Love it!

  42. Aran said,

    May 26, 2009 @ 12:07 am

    looks amazing!

  43. Marc @ NoRecipes said,

    May 26, 2009 @ 7:13 pm

    Wow! The presentation, flavours, and creativity on this one are just off the charts. Awesome, awesome, awesome!

    I feel like I’ve been in a bit of a rut with my cooking. Thanks for the inspiration!

  44. Lee Tran said,

    May 26, 2009 @ 11:55 pm

    I love it – Mr Sweet Potato. Sort of like a more grown-up version of the Mr Not-Sweet Potato. You can’t swap the nose and eyes around but you can do more sophisticated things with it with a cookbook and your kitchen favourites!
    And the presentation is gorgeous! Well done. (I hope it gets considered for a cameo in Toy Story 3!)

  45. Sophie said,

    May 27, 2009 @ 1:23 am

    The warm flavors in this dessert sound ammmazin’! I eat sweet-potato year around, usually plain, but I know it tastes divine in this sweet treat. Beautiful!

  46. Tartelette said,

    May 28, 2009 @ 12:48 am

    Outstanding Y! You are just one cut above the rest. I am absolutely in love with your platings and no one (I repeat no one) does them as well as you do.
    I think I have a bit of a crush:)

  47. Julia @ Mรฉlanger said,

    July 9, 2009 @ 6:51 am

    Congratulations on your DMBLGIT win!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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