Tuesday 30 July 2013

Maple Sweet Potato Pie / Maple Kumara Pie

"I feel like a pie" has a completely different meaning in New Zealand than it does in the States.

When a Kiwi talks about pies, we're most likely thinking about savoury meat pies: the kind with delicious mince and gravy wrapped in flakey short pastry.  All buttery and greasey and just what you feel like on a Sunday morning after the Med Ball a late night out.

But from what I understand, in the USA, "pies" are generally sweet, like pecan pies, pumpkin pie, peanut butter pie.  Drool.  I've only recently been introduced to this magical world of American sweet pies thanks to Sweet Mothers KitchenErmahgerd how good is that place??!?  Totally obsessed.

So to further fuel my obsession and because it was becoming embarrassing how often I go to walk past the place and find myself walking out with a slice of pie, I decided to create a Kiwi-ized version of the southern Sweet Potato Pie - a Maple Kumara Pie.

Just as a side note, in New Zealand we tend to call sweet pies "tarts".  But I guess "I feel like a tart" has a double meaning also...

I looked up about a million recipes online and taking little bits of each of them and creating a Frankenstein of a recipe. With a healthy dollop of make-it-up-as-I-go thrown in too.  Surprisingly it came out pretty awesome, if I might say so myself.

Turns out this recipe is like Mother Teresa - amazingly forgiving.  I realized that I had completely forgotten to put the eggs in the filling when the pie had already been in the oven for 5 minutes.  I had to take it out of the oven, scoop the insides out, mix the eggs in, and plonk it all back into the semi-melted pastry case and it still turned out delicious and gorgeous looking.  It's idiot proof, I tell ya.

The best part is, you can pretty much whizz it all up in a food processor and there's none of that blind baking nonsense. 

And did I mention how delicious it is? Silky smooth and surprisingly light with gorgeous maple caramelly flavours and warming spices.  Even without blind baking, the pastry comes out crumbly and buttery and just melts in your mouth.  Gah, what's not to like?  It's all goodness.  So good in fact I made two pies in two days and it got all gobbled up.  Watch out Paula Deen.

Since sweet potato/kumara is a vegetable it's part of your 5+ a day.

Pretty much just like a salad.

Maple Kumara Pie

2 cups mashed kumara (sweet potato) (About ~ 3 medium sized kumara or ~ 700-800g. I used gold kumara which my dad always told me is the sweetest)

100g butter
1 cup evaporated milk (unsweetened)
2 eggs

¼ cup white sugar

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon ground allspice

1 Tablespoon lemon juice


125g unsalted butter

1/2 cup icing sugar

1 cup flour

1 egg

1. To make the pastry: Prepare a 32 cm loose bottomed pie/tart pan by buttering it well. In a food processor, cream the butter till fluffy.  Add icing sugar and whizz again till fluffy.  Add the egg and process till smooth.  Then add the flour and whizz till it forms a dough.  Chill the dough for a little bit to firm up (~15 mins in the fridge) or if it's cold enough roll it out right away between plastic two pieces of wrap till around 0.5 cm thick (or till a wide enough disc to cover the pie pan).  

2. Press the pastry into the pan, just rip off overhanging bits and use them to fill in gaps and holes, the pastry is pretty forgiving.  Put the pastry in the fridge to chill for at least 30 minutes the longer the better (you can make the filling in the meantime).  Also rinse your food processor out coz you'll be using it in a little bit!

3. Boil the kumara skin on in a saucepan for 20 - 30 minutes until you can poke a butter knife through the middle of the kumara and it goes through easily.  Run the kumara under cold water to cool. Peel skin off and discard the ends.  I pressed the very squishy kumara into a measuring cup to get roughly 2 cups of kumara.

4. Whizz the kumara in your food processor till pureed then just let cool completely in the food processor.  

5. Preheat your oven to 180oC, make sure the rack is in the middle of the oven.  Once the kumara had cooled, add all rest of the filling ingredients and process it on high for around 2 minutes to get it really fluffy.  Place the pie pan with pastry on a cookie sheet (to make transferring easier). Pour the filling into the pastry and put it in the oven.  Bake for 50 minutes till the top is lightly golden.  If it's getting too browned on top too soon, tent some foil over it.  Cool the pie on wire rack for around 30 minutes before cutting.  Serve with whipped cream, ice cream or yoghurt.

NB: If you are using a smaller deeper pie dish e.g. 26 cm diameter, 5cm deep, you will need to add an extra approx 20-30 minutes baking time. Cover the pastry with tin foil (fold a square of tin foil into quarters then cut a quarter circle shape to get a round hole in the middle for the filling) from the 30 minute mark to stop the pastry getting too browned.

Variation: Bourbon kumara pie

Substitute the 1/4 cup maple syrup with 1/4 cup soft brown sugar. Leave out the lemon juice and add 3 Tablespoons of bourbon.  To. Die. For.


  1. i don't know what part of this post i love the most! 'i feel like a tart' - 'five a day' - fabulous! the spicy flavours sound warm and comforting. yum!

  2. Wow this looks amazing! And totally achievable, def gonna give this a go. Gold kumaras are my fave. Sounds so yum.

  3. I agree with you that Americans associate pies as being sweet pies and are amused that we have savoury pies in NZ.Just last week,a work associate visiting from USA was amazed by how delicious meat pies can be.On the other hand, I would love sweet pies over savoury any day.Your recipe looks delicious and I will want to give it a try soon.

  4. Oooooh my goodness Nessie that looks absolutely gorgeous! Am so into baking with sweet potatoes and pumpkins at the moment and this looks perfect!

  5. Yum this looks so good sweet potato pie sounds amazing! Definitely bookmarking the recipe.

  6. I am excited to try this recipe!! Love sweet potatoes.



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