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Cooking the Cowboy Way
by Grady Spears with June Naylor
Baby sweet potato pies are a specialty at Gates Bar-B-Q in Kansas City. Theirs is a secret recipe, but this one should do you just fine. These babies make for easy serving when you 're entertaining a crowd, and kids love the small size.
Serves 12

• 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
• 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
• 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1½ cups whipping cream
• 3 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1 package of 2 refrigerated pie crusts, unfold-and-fill variety
• Sweetened whipped cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the potatoes in a medium-large saucepan, cover with cold water, and boil over medium heat for 20 minutes or until tender; drain completely, transfer to a large bowl, and mash well.
Add the sugar, butter, and cream and use a handheld electric mixer to combine thoroughly to a thick but smooth consistency. Gradually add the eggs, followed by the vanilla, salt, and spices, and mix until blended.

Unfold the pie crusts on a floured surface, pressing out any creases with your fingers; use a biscuit cutter or the mouth of a glass jar to cut twelve 3-inch-diameter circles from the crusts.

Place these in muffin cups, pushing in to fit snugly; crimp the sides of the pie crusts gently with the tines of a fork.

Pour the sweet potato mix- ture into the mini crusts, until about two-thirds full.

Bake for about 25 minutes, or until the pies are set in the center.

Allow to cool and serve plain or with sweetened whipped cream


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