When it comes time to celebrate the seven days of Kwanzaa, these hearty southern-style pies are always part of Alexis Rainbow's festivities. Daughter Ariana, 10, helps Alexis bake the family recipe--passed down four generations from great-grandmother Nancy Hite.
First, prepare the sweet potatoes. Peel, quarter and remove any woody portions. Boil in a covered saucepan with just enough water to cover. When soft (after about 20 to 25 minutes), drain and place in a large mixing bowl. Alternatively, prick the skins of the potatoes and bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour or until tender. Cool, halve, scoop out the flesh and place it in the bowl.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the butter to the potatoes and mash with an electric mixer on low speed.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs for 1 minute or until foamy. Whisk them into the potatoes, add the sugar and nutmeg and blend on low speed until combined. Gradually add the milk or cream and beat until smooth.
Meanwhile, roll out the pie dough. Let the kids make mini pies by shaping pieces of dough into muffin tins or mini tart pans, or line two 9-inch deep-dish pie pans with pie dough (you'll only need enough dough for two single crusts).
Pour the filling into the shells. On the lower rack of your oven, bake mini pies for 25 minutes and deep-dish pies for 1 hour. When baked, the crust will be golden and the top will be set.
Cool for 2 hours. Refrigerate, loosely covered with plastic. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream. Makes 12 mini or two 9-inch pies.
Kids' Steps: Older kids can use the electric mixer to mash the sweet potatoes. Younger kids can measure and add ingredients to the filling and shape the dough for the mini pies.