Wednesday, November 15, 2006

THANKSGIVING: The Pink Teacup's Sweet Potato Pie

Back in the eocene, when I was much younger than today and living briefly at West 10th and Waverly in Greenwich Village, I was wandering aimlessly one sunny afternoon when I encountered a handsome, distinguished looking gentleman in a struggle with a wiggling pillowcase. He looked at me and asked, hopefully, whether I might have a few moments to help him. The pillowcase, he confided, held his beloved kitty, who had been ill and in need of a visit to the vet. After a check-up and successful diagnosis, they were returning home, but with the additional encumbrence of a bag full of prescriptions and treats. His apartment was nearby, on Grove Street, and he would be most grateful for my help. He had a faint, but charming, English accent, and I nothing better to do, so I took the bag he extended to me and strolled along with him for a couple of blocks. His apartment was in a three story brownstone, on the second floor, and I glanced around the room we entered as he let his kitty out of her bag in another room. On the wall was an old black and white photograph of three men in khaki uniforms standing in front of the Pyramids. He was one of the three. I wondered what the story was behind that picture, but never got to ask. He came out of the other room suddenly and startled me and I forgot all about it. As a treat for helping him, he offered to take me to his favorite neighborhood restaurant, The Pink Teacup, just down the street, for coffee and a dessert. Sweet potato pie, I think it was. Sadly, I never saw my charming friend again. Years later, though, I read that The Pink Teacup was also one of Quentin Crisp's favorite hangouts, too. [Dawn French, in her BBC series Scoff, episode of 12/20/88, paid a visit to the Teacup with Mr. Crisp as her guide!]

All of that is just leading up to this: just in time for Thanksgiving, the NY Post's Liz Smith presents us with her annual lovely gift of The Pink Teacup's recipe for sweet potato pie. Some of us believe this is a fabulous substitute for the ubiquitous pumpkin pie:

2 lbs. yams
1/2 c. butter
1 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. ginger
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. nutmeg
2 T. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
3 large eggs, separated
1/2 c. of orange juice
1 T. grated orange rind
1/2 c. evaporated milk

Peel and boil yams until mashable. Add butter, spices, salt, sugars to hot yams. Beat until light and smooth. Beat egg yolks until light and add to mixture. Stir in orange juice, rind and milk. Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into mix. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Preheat oven to 350 and bake 35 minutes, or until pie puffs up and is firm in the middle. Cool on the rack. Add whipped cream. Live a little!

The Pink Teacup
42 Grove Street (between Bedford & Bleecker)
Greenwich Village
Nw York, NY 10014
Telephone: (212) 807-6755
Subway: Lines 1, 9 to Christopher St-Sheridan Square
Hours: Monday - Thursday 8 am - 12:00 am, Friday - Sunday, 8 am - 1:00 am


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That post certainly brought up a bit of nostalgia from a bygone era when I lived in Manhattan, too. Ah, Greenwich Village food haunts . . . (I seem to recall the NYC publishing house I worked for at my first job out of college published at least one of Quentin Crisp’s books as well.)

BTW, I see you haven’t yet posted that the Enquirer is now doing a foodie blog:

I’m not sure what I think of it yet. I seem to recall reading something that suggested there is a Gannett-wide push to get into blogging. Clearly, these folks haven’t hit their stride yet, or adapted from their usual print gig to the new medium. We’ll see how things develop.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Sean Carter said...

This time of the year do stir up some memories...and it's always nice to share them with dear ones on Thanksgiving....just loved your did stir up a few of my memories as well...and thanks for posting the recipe as well...and hey also visit my Thanksgiving Blog sometime and share all the fun and joy of the celebration.

12:54 AM  
Blogger Willa Frank said...

dear anonymous,

thanks for writing. and, just for the record, i did write about the enquirer's food blog, but on food blog s'cool, not here. somehow EIGHT people posting on one blog just adds to a sense of schizophrenia to me. but, hey, to each his/her own!

dear sean carter,

thanks for visiting again. you must be really busy what with the big day coming up next week.

1:48 PM  
Blogger Lynn Barry said...

Sweet potato anything is to die for...thanks as always for these great offerings. HUGS

9:49 AM  
Blogger Nicci King said...

OMG! That sounds to die for... I'm not big on baking, but I have to add it to my Recipes To Try list. Thanks!


5:39 PM  

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