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Jim Coleman Recipes

Cazuela Pie
(Pumpkin, Sweet Potato and Coconut Milk Pie)
From " In The Sweet Kitchen" by Regan Daley

2 9 1/2 INCH PIES, EACH SERVING 6 to 8
This very complex and sweet-tasting pie has a dense, dark-orange filling, a combination of cooked pumpkin and sweet potato mash. It may look simple, but it beats the pants off regular pumpkin pies! Cazuela is a traditional Puerto Rican pudding, usually baked in banana leaves. This pie has a more refined, richer, more flavorful taste than the common pumpkin pie and has now replaced it on our Thanksgiving table! You, too, may never go back. A few notes about the ingredients and procedure: oven-steaming the sweet potatoes with the spices and ginger infuses the flesh with the flavors and lets the water absorb the starch and flavor from the potatoes as well. The filling can be made using canned pumpkin or fresh, cooked pumpkin the filling will be smoother if you use canned, but you can get the same effect by forcing your cooked pumpkin flesh through a ricer or mesh sieve. Make sure the pie shell is thoroughly chilled to ensure the pastry won't over bake during the long cooking time needed for the dense filling.

For this recipe you will need:

2 unbaked and well chilled pie pastries, used to line 9 1/2 -inch glass pie dishes


  • 2 1/2 pounds orange sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small egg-sized chunks
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 2 small or 1 large cinnamon stick(s), broken into pieces
  • 5 whole cloves
  • 1 star anise, crumbled
  • 1 1/2 -inch-long piece of fresh ginger, peeled and cut into o-inch slices
  • 4 cups pumpkin puree, or good-quality canned solid-pack pumpkin (not Pumpkin Pie Filling)
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons tightly packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup good-quality canned coconut milk (stir the contents of the can well before measuring out the amount you need, to ensure you will get some of the rich cream, as well as the thinner milk below)
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (36%), chilled, then whipped to soft peaks with 3 tablespoons granulated sugar, to serve

To prepare this recipe:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Place the sweet potato chunks in a single layer in one large or two medium shallow, ceramic baking dish(es). Add the water, dividing it between the two dishes if necessary. The water should be about 1/2 - inch deep; add more if the level is lower than this. Scatter the pieces of cinnamon stick, cloves, pieces of star anise and ginger slices among the sweet potatoes. Cover the baking dishes securely with aluminum foil and place in the preheated oven. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are very tender when pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Remove the potatoes from the dishes and force them through a ricer, food mill, or sieve. Let cool. Strain the baking liquid, discarding the solids, and measure. You want about 1/2 cup of liquid; if you have less, add enough fresh water to make 1/2 cup; if you have more, simmer the liquid in a small saucepan on the stove over high heat until it is reduced to about 1/2 cup. Let the liquid cool. (The pumpkin, sweet potato and spiced liquid can all be prepared up to 3 days ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Bring each to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe. Each of these elements can also be frozen for up to 5 months (thaw overnight in the refrigerator before bringing to room temperature).

2. Increase the oven temperature to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin and sweet potato purees and stir to blend well. Beat in the eggs, then stir in the melted butter and reserved spice liquid. In a separate bowl, stir together the granulated and brown sugars with a wire whisk. Sift the flour and salt over the sugars and stir to blend. Add the sugar-flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and stir well until there are no pockets of sugar visible. Blend in the coconut milk.

3. Scrape the filling into the two chilled pie shells, dividing it evenly and smoothing the tops. Place the pies in the lower half of the preheated oven and bake for 1 3/4 to 2 hours, turning the pies several times so they bake evenly. The point of a thin-bladed knife should come out clean when inserted into the center of the filling, and the surface should be unevenly cracked. If the edges of the pastry seem to be darkening too much before the filling is cooked, cover them with strips of aluminum foil. Transfer the pies to wire racks and cool completely before serving with mounds of lightly sweetened whipped cream. Each pie would serve 6 to 8 people if everyone wants only one piece. This is unlikely.

©2005 WHYY