Sunday, August 7, 2011

"Cookin' with Coolio" - Sweet Chocolate Potato Pie

Date I made this recipe: August 5, 2011

Cookin’ with Coolio – 5 Star Meals at a 1 Star Price by Coolio, The Ghetto Gourmet
Published by: Simon and Shuster/Atria Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-4391-1761-3

Recipe: Sweet Chocolate Potato Pie – p. 186-187

So Monday was Coolio’s birthday. Y’all know Coolio, right? He’s a gansta! Actually, he’s a gansta, hip hop and G-funk artist who was born Artis Leon Ivey, Jr. on August 1, 1963.

If you’ve seen the movie, Clueless, (and why wouldn’t you – it’s cute!) then you’ll know Coolio from the soundtrack song, Rollin’ with My Homies. He’s perhaps better known for his breakout hit, Gangsta’s Paradise. Oh yeah, I keep up.

At any rate, so there I was, checking out cookbooks at Borders one day, and holy cow, who knew Coolio wrote a cookbook? So I had to have it figuring it would come in handy one day and sure enough, this Monday I read that it was his birthday and so “Way to use that cookbook for your blog, Ann!”

Now I am no prude, but I could not, in good conscience, make some of the recipes because reprinting them would have caused my eyes, and yours, to burn out. Let’s just say this book is definitely full of gangsta language. Um, lots of it.

So by default, I baked Coolio a pie (instead of a cake) for his birthday as it was about the cleanest one I could reproduce for public viewing. (That being said, his book is a hoot.) And I was intrigued by the sweet potato and chocolate combination so there it is. There’s always a reason I choose a recipe.

Sadly, I can’t say the pie did much for me and part of it could be due to operator error. For whatever reason (perhaps it was the high humidity the day I made it), the pie filling just didn’t seem right. Not that I’ve ever made a sweet potato pie, but I guess I was expecting a dense filling and instead it was kind of runny. And the butter didn’t really incorporate into the filling, either and that was a puzzlement.

But I baked it anyway, hoping for the best, but in the end, I just couldn’t taste the chocolate. And chocolate was the main ingredient that tripped this cook’s trigger enough to make it. Instead, the spices were almost overwhelming. Still, we’re eating it so it’s not like it was a total waste but I really wanted to nail this sucka for Coolio for his B-Day, you know what I’m sayin’?

So maybe you all can play around with it and see if you get better results. Or maybe wait until Christmas dinner when Coolio intended it to be served. Cooler weather (okay, in these parts, really cooler weather) might just help the filling set up better.

Sweet Chocolate Potato Pie - serves 8-10
One 1-pound sweet potato
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup chocolate milk
2 eggs
1 dime bag ground nutmeg*
1 dime bag ground cinnamon*
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
One 9-inch pie crust, unbaked (Note: I’ve never used these before and was annoyed to find that they come in packs of two. I didn’t want two, I only wanted one! So now I need to find another pie to bake…eventually. And sure, you can argue that at least I'm prepared for the next pie but that's not the point!).

*Dime bags – street slang for the dollar amount of drugs one is buying. As an example, pot used to come in nickel bags ($5 a bag) or dime bags ($10 a bag). Not that I have any experience with this stuff but I did go to college in the 70’s so….For your purposes, Coolio explains that a dime bag or “dahym bag” is a tablespoon. After making this pie, I’d say use a tablespoon if you really want a spicy pie (like pumpkin only with sweet potatoes) and use less if you want less spice. I could have used even less and been fine.

Boil the sweet potato(s) whole for 40-50 minutes, or until done. Don’t undress its sexy sweetness, so make sure to keep it in its skin.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Run cold water over the sweet potato, then slowly and seductively remove the skin.

Now, break apart the sweet potato into a bowl. Knead it slowly, gently, like you’re making love to this hot potato. (I can assure you my mother would not have reprinted this last instruction! And quite possibly never made this pie but that’s another story for another day.)

Add the butter and mix well with a hand mixer.

Stir in both sugars, the chocolate milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed until the mixture is smooth.

Once you’ve beaten that mixture (“into submission,” adds Coolio), pour it into your unbaked pie crust.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes.

Make sure you don’t get too excited and serve your pie too soon. Let it chill out for 10 minutes, then serve it up.

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