Sweet Potato-Pecan Pie with Wild Rice Crust and Star Anise Ice Cream
These beautiful tarts take advantage of Minnesota’s wild rice harvest. Substitute a fine whole wheat flour if you can’t find wild rice flour.. The star anise ice cream is an interesting touch, but you could use a high-quality vanilla ice cream if you wish.
- Star Anise Ice Cream (Makes 2 quarts)
- Egg Yolks - 12
- Milk - 3 cups
- Vanilla bean - 1/2
- Sugar - 1-1/2 cups
- Star Anise - 2 tablespoons, roasted, ground
- Wild Rice Pie Crust
- Lard - 1/2 cup
- All-Purpose Flour - 1-1/2 cups
- Wild Rice Flour - 2 tablespoons
- Butter - 1 tablespoon
- Cold Water - 1/3 cup
- All-Purpose Flour - 1 teaspoon
- Sweet Potato Filling
- Sweet potatoes - 5 large (about 2-1/2 cups when pureed)
- Sweetened Condensed Milk - 1-1/2 cups
- Sugar - 3/4 cup
- Allspice - 1 teaspoon
- Nutmeg - 1 teaspoon
- Cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
- Ginger - 1 teaspoon
- Clove - 1 teaspoon
- Eggs - 3
- Pecan Filling
- Light Brown Sugar - 2 cups
- Light Corn Syrup - 2 cups
- Whiskey - 3 tablespoons
- Almond Extract - 1 teaspoon
- Eggs - 7
- Melted Butter - 3/4 cup
- Pecan halves - 1-1/2 pound
- Creme Anglaise (Makes 2 cups)
- Egg Yolks - 4
- Sugar - 1/3 cup
- Milk - 1-1/2 cups, heated
- Vanilla Extract - 2 teaspoons
- Maple-Caramel Sauce (Makes 3 cups)
- Granulated Sugar - 1/3 cup
- Light Brown Sugar - 1 cup
- Pure Maple Syrup - 1/4 cup
- Dark Corn Syrup - 1/4 cup
- Heavy (whipping) cream - 1 cup, heated
- Edible flowers (optional)
To make the ice cream: Whip the egg yolks in a deep bowl until they are light yellow and frothy. In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, combine the milk and sugar. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the little seeds into the milk mixture. Add the star anise, increase the heat to medium-high, and let the mixture come just to a boil (scald). Slowly whisk one cup of the hot mixture into the egg yolks. Whisking constantly, pour the egg mixture into the remaining milk mixture. Place in the top of a double boiler and cook slowly until the mixture coats a spoon. Remove from heat, place in a bowl of ice cubes, and let chill. Stir in the heavy cream. Let the mixture cool. When cool, strain through a fine-meshed sieve, place in a ice cream machine, and proceed to freeze according to instructions for the machine. Store in the freezer.
To make the pie shells: In a large bowl, cut the lard into 1/2-inch cubes. Cut in 1-1/2 cups flour, rice flour, and butter, using a pastry blender or two knives. Add the water a little bit at a time until the mixture forms a stiff pastry dough, handling the dough as little as possible. Dust the dough with 1 teaspoon of flour and work it gently until it comes together. Divide the dough in half and wrap each half in plastic. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
Prepare 3-inch fluted tart shells by spraying them lightly with canola oil. Press the dough into the shells, forming a 1/4-inch-thick crust. Remove any excess dough from the tops of the tart shells and set aside to rest at least 30 minutes.
To make the sweet potato filling: Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch-thick pieces. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil and add the potato pieces. Cover and cook for 10 minutes; potatoes are done when they can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife. Drain and let cool. Puree the potato pieces.
In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients, stirring slowly. Whisk in the eggs one at a time until smooth. Set aside.
To make the pecan filling: In a large mixing bowl, blend the sugar, corn syrup, whiskey, almond extract, and melted butter together until the sugar is dissolved. Beat the eggs until foamy and stir into the sugar mixture. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve.
Preheat the oven to 325 F. Fill each pie shell half-full with sweet potato filling. Place pecan halves evenly around the top of each tart. Fill three-quarters of the way to the top with pecan filling. Bake 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
To make the Creme Anglaise: Place the egg yolks in a medium-heavy saucepan and whisk them over low heat until they are pale in color. Add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time, beating well between each addition. Beat until the mixture reaches the consistency of cake batter. Whisk in the milk, then stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the custard coats the spoon and a line drawn down the back of the spoon remains visible. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. If the custard is to be chilled, press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for up to 2 days.
To make the Maple-Caramel Sauce: Mix all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the mixture reaches 200 F on a candy thermometer. Remove from heat and let cool for 20 minutes. Skim surface if necessary. Pour into a heat-proof jar and cover.
To serve: Place the Creme Anglaise and Maple-Caramel Sauce in squeeze bottles and drizzle both sauces across the dessert plates. Unmold the tarts by tapping the edge and carefully lifting them free of the molds. Place one tart in the center of each plate. Put a scoop of ice cream beside each tart. Garnish plates with flowers.