Friday, January 3, 2014

Rum and Orange Pear Custard Pie and Maple Sweet Potato Pie

Last year, 2013, was eventful and challenging. I graduated from University of California, Davis with a Degree in Biotechnology. Decided to leave the Biotech industry for winemaking, and obtained a hands on winemaking internship with EJ Gallo. Traveled to Peru, and fell in love with Cusco and the regional cuisine. Continued to explore food and photography through my old blog, Blueberry Octopie, and transitioned to this blog. 

During the last weeks of 2013, I bought a ticket to Buenos Aires from San Francisco for January 20th. Usually when the new year rolls around, like everyone else, I have a list of plans, or resolutions. A list of ideas and events I expect to happen. However, this year I have not planned passed the 20th of this month. I do not know when I am coming back to the states. There is the possibility of a harvest job in Mendoza towards the end of February, but nothing is set in stone. All I know is the number in my bank account. 

I have no idea what kind of person I will become this year, but I am expecting changes. Leaving the world I know behind is daunting, and incredibly scary. I don't know what I will come back to, or who I will be coming back as. There are relationships and friendships here in the states I don't want to give up, and, thus, my one true resolution is to stay connected. I want to create as many new experiences and relationships as possible, without sacrificing the old. 

Maple Sweet Potato Pie
Prep time: 40 minutes
Total time: 1 hour and 25 minutes


  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Boil the sweet potatoes until tender, about 30 minutes. Boiling instead of baking the sweet potatoes will allow for a bright orange color. While the potatoes were boiling, I made the crust. 

Mix together the mashed, skinless sweet potatoes, granulated sugar, maple syrup, brown sugar, and melted butter. Place the mixture in the blender or food processor until smooth. Then mix in the eggs, and spices. Carefully add the heavy cream and slowly mix until evenly combined. 

Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes. 

Rum and Orange Custard Pear Pie
Prep time: 35 minutes
Total time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

  • 3 pears
  • 3 cups of water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • orange peel 
  • vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tbs flour
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 2 tbs rum
  • 1/2 tsp orange zest
Peel the pears and place them in 3 cups of water. Add 3/4 cup of sugar, 3 medium pieces of orange peel, and 2 tsp vanilla extract to the pears and water. Bring to a boil, and then keep on medium heat until the pears are soft, but still firm, about 15 minutes.

In a medium bowl whip the egg and 1/2 cup sugar together until thick and pale. Mix in the flour. Then add the half and half, rum, and orange zest.

Once the pears are slightly soft and cool, cut then in half and core them. I have made this pie by cutting the pears into small slices and by just cutting them in half and arranging them with the skinny end pointing inward. I have found that larger slices of pear allow for more even cooking of the custard. Cut the pears based on how you wish to arrange them.  Pour the custard mixture over the pears, and let it fill in the cracks.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30-40 minutes, until the custard is no longer liquid and slightly puffy. 

For the crust, I used William Sonoma's Basic Pie Dough Recipe. In the maple sweet potato pie crust, I replaced the water with dark rum.


  1. I like the look of the rum and orange one. What you do think of crushing grapes with bare feet to meet wine? I am very dubious about the practice.

  2. Crushing grapes with feet is no longer done commercially because of its decreased efficiency and high potential for contamination. However, it could be a fun practice for a home winemaker who is open to local microbes, good or bad. Despite its impracticality, I would still like to try it some day.

    Thanks for stopping by!