Today is November 1st, known as Samhain, All Saints Day, or Dia de los Muertos, depending on your spiritual and cultural orientation. Last night, Halloween, was a bright, beautiful full moon in Taurus. We put out candy for the few intrepid trick-or-treaters, then we made a fire and watched Beetlejuice. Today I made mulled cider and a sweet potato pie, and this evening I will make an altar with offerings to the beloved dead who have passed on.
Of course, top of mind is Blessed Glo, who became an ancestor this year. She joined my friend Matt, my sister Julie, and my grandmothers and so many named and unnamed who came before. Glo taught me how to honor the dead with offerings, and so with reverence and love, I make these offerings to her and to the others who have passed on from this life.
Sweet Potato Pie:
Begin with two fresh, good sized sweet potatoes. Prick holes in the skin with a fork and bake in a small casserole dish or pie pan until soft inside, about 45 minutes to an hour at 350 degrees. Let cool completely.
For the crust:
2 1/2 cups flour (or gf flour blend)
3/4 teaspoon salt
big dash cardamom (optional)
8 ounces (two sticks) cold butter, chopped
Blend butter into flour by pinching the butter into the flour with your fingers until there are no chunks of butter larger than a pea. Take care to work quickly, try not to warm the cold butter with your fingers, and try to keep all butter bits coated in flour at all times. The aim is to layer the fat within the flour, not to combine them.
Now, add 3/4 cup of ice water, 1/4 cup at a time, folding water in with a fork. Turn onto a floured surface and knead lightly and gently until dough forms a ball. Turn back into the bowl, cover, and refrigerate while you make the filling.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
For the filling:
Brown 4 ounces (1 stick) of butter. To brown butter, place butter in a saucepan and cook over medium heat until butter boils, foams, and begins to brown. Take off of heat when the butter is golden brown and has a nutty, caramelized fragrance. Set aside to let cool, but not solidify.
Next, combine and blend, by hand or in a stand mixer:
the peeled mashed sweet potatoes
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinammon
dash ground ginger
dash ground clove
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup whole milk
the cooled brown butter
Roll out the dough, place in pie plate, and crimp edges. Cut out decorations from the leftover pastry, using a paring knife. Paint crust edges and decorations with egg wash (1 egg plus a splash of milk) to add shine and color to the crust. Pour the filling into the pie, then top with pastry decorations.
Bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until pastry is golden brown and the filling is set.
What is remembered, lives. Blessed Samhain, Blessed All Saints Day, Blessed Dia de los Muertos. Onward in love.
PS: there’s no real recipe for the cider. I make it in a crock pot and I dump in a gallon of fresh pressed apple cider, a pint or two of orange juice, a sliced orange, a sliced lemon, a finger or two of sliced ginger, then: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, pinch of salt, 1/2 cup of sugar, a star anise and whatever else you think will taste nice.