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Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mixing up the holiday meal

Eclectrics® Mixer
For as long as I can remember my now 16-year-old daughter has loved to assist with the holiday cooking preparations so during Thanksgiving and Christmas she helps prepare the meal. About two years ago she decided she was proficient enough in the kitchen to prepare the entire holiday meals alone.

She makes everything! The entrĂ©e, veggies, side dishes… but my favorite is the sweet potato pies that she whips up using the mixer. There’s something about the pie, which my grandmother used to make when I was growing up, that makes the whole meal special. It’s like the pie has been passed down through the generations and now my baby has taken over the tradition.

Here’s the sweet potato pie recipe she uses:
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup butter-flavored vegetable shortening, chilled
1/3 cup ice water
Sift the flour and salt into a medium bowl. Add the shortening. Using a fork or a pastry blender, cut the shortening into the flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few pea-sized bits. Stirring with the fork, gradually add enough of the water until the mixture clumps together (you may need more or less water). Gather up the dough and press into a thick disk. If desired, wrap the dough in wax paper and refrigerate for up to one hour.

3 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed
8 tablespoons butter, melted
¾ cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
¼ cup half and half
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 13-inch circle and fold it in half. Put in pie pan and gently fold open to fit pan. Use scissors or a sharp knife and trim the dough to a one-inch over hang. Flute (the design) the dough around the edge of the pain. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sweet potatoes and reduce heat to medium. Cook until they’re tender, about 30 minutes. Drain and run under cold water until cool to the touch/cool enough to handle. Peel the potatoes and place in medium bowl. Mash with electric mixer on medium and mix until smooth. Measure 3 cups of the potatoes and set aside. Keep extra for another use.

Preheat over to 400 degrees. Uncover pie shell and brush inside with some of the melted butter. Sprinkle with ¼ cup brown sugar on the bottom of the crust. Bake until dough is set, about 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl, using the electric mixer on low speed and mist the mashed sweet potatoes, remaining butter and ½ cup brown sugar, the sugar, eggs, half and half, cinnamon and nutmeg. Spread into pie shell and smooth top.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 and bake until knife or toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 1 ½ hours. Cool on wire rack and cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Although the pies are delicious, I think they would be even better and definitely easier to make if we had a Hamilton Beach® Eclectrics® All-Metal Stand Mixer. This mixer has 12 settings, which offer more flexibility and control. The Hamilton Beach® mixer has a 4.5 quart stainless steel locking bowl that has a handle (how brilliant!), a two-piece pouring and splatter shield and to top it all of it has a quieter operation. If you want your pies – or other mixer necessary recipes – to turn out as good as my daughter’s then make sure you get a Hamilton Beach® Stand Mixer in time for holiday cooking.

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