1 pound sweet potatoes
1/4 cup unsalted margarine or butter
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon finely shredded orange peel
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3 slightly beaten eggs
1 cup half-and-half or light cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans or almonds
1. Peel sweet potatoes. Cut off woody portions and ends. Cut into quarters. Cook, covered, in enough boiling salted water to cover for 25 to 35 minutes or until tender; drain and mash. (You should have 1-1/2 cups.) Cut up margarine; add to hot potatoes, stirring until melted.
2. Meanwhile, prepare cornmeal pastry by stirring together 3/4 cup of the flour, cornmeal, sugar, and salt. Cut in 1/3 cup shortening using pastry blender, until pieces are the size of small peas. Sprinkle 3 to 5 tablespoons cold water, 1 tablespoon at a time, over mixture, tossing with a fork after each addition until all is moistened. Form into a ball.
3. Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 12-inch circle; ease into a 9-inch pie plate; trim to 1/2 inch beyond edge of plate. Fold under the overhanging pastry; crimp edge high. Do not prick.
4. For filling, add brown sugar, orange peel, cinnamon, nutmet, and ginger to potatoes. Stir in eggs and half-and-half or light cream. Place pastry shell on oven rack; pour in filling. Cover edges with foil. Bake in a 375 degrees F oven for 30 minutes.
5. For Pecan Streusel Topping mix 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup of the brown sugar, 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg. Cut in 2 tablespoons margarine or butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans or almonds.
6. Remove foil. Sprinkle with Pecan Streusel Topping. Bake 20 to 25 minutes more or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool. Makes 8 servings.
Make-ahead tip: Refrigerate prepared Cornmeal Pastry and Pecan Streusel Topping, covered, up to 3 days.
Date: September 5, 2002