“Ring those Christmas bells; light the Christmas tree”…This familiar carol burst forth vitally for me first in 1994; then, I had just invited Jesus into my heart. Incipient living joy impacted me with this song, in my initial Sunday service, during that holy month of December.
For decades the Salvation Army has rung those Christmas bells every holiday season; they have invited us always to reach out to the less fortunate.
Last year a dear bell-ringer came into my life; George lite up the Fred Meyer’s grocery store, where I took my daily coffee. During the holidays, this man reminisced about his mother’s sweet potato pie. As he formed his words, my heart contrived an extraordinary surprise. Days later Christmas came alive for me much the same as in 1994: I delivered my newfound creation, this seasonal treat, to my cherished bell-ringer.
My heart leaped with joy, when George returned again this year. A friend from my church asked, in passing, if I knew this bell-ringer at Fred Meyer’s. She implored me to join in prayer for him, as she had learned of his heartbreaking concern for a family member.
I subsequently prayed in person with George. Wisdom, which my pastor recently preached, surfaced. We do not let the troubles of others encroach on our personal relationship with God. “We are concerned, but not concerned.” George and I already knew this truth, for we cast our cares, however deep, on our Father. His Son already carried them for us; we were not made to carry these burdens!
Back in 1994, the freedom of this reality vibrated in me, when I asked the burden-bearer Jesus into my heart. However, from time to time, the world’s cares have crept in and dimmed this earlier jubilant provision.
I cry out for George, me, and all of us: may we know how “to put the dollar in the Salvation Army bucket” in all of life’s circumstances; yet, not forfeit our good hearts at the same time.
Unspeakable bliss is mine again this year! I get to give my sweet potato pie to George once more. May you, too, shower your loved ones this Christmas with this blessed recipe!
- Sweet Potato Pie Yields 1-10 inch pie. Total prep time: 3 hr/ active prep time: 3/4 hr/ baking time: day before-1+ hr; day of-1 hr.
2 cups baked, peeled sweet potatoes, packed down in cup (You will need 1 1/2 lbs or 2 medium sweet potatoes-note that yams are a variety of sweet potatoes.)
3/4 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup milk (You may substitute 1 1/2 cups half and half for both the whipping cream and milk.)
1 cup brown sugar (Organic is best; available at Trader Joe’s; coconut sugar is also excellent.)
3/4 tsp salt (Real Salt is important; available in the health section of local supermarket.)
4 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp vanilla
3 large eggs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash sweet potatoes, dry, and pierce with a fork. Wrap potatoes in foil and place on a cookie sheet. Bake in oven until soft, for about 1 hour, depending on size of potatoes, cool. MAY BE DONE A DAY AHEAD.
- (Note: if you don’t have a food processor, go to step 5 for doing this by hand.) If using a food processor, place sweet potatoes in the processor. Blend well.
- Add cream, milk, sugar, salt, spices, and vanilla; blend; stop and scrape down sides; blend again.
- Add eggs. Blend very lightly again, just until eggs are mixed in. Do not over-blend, or pie will have a chiffon-like substance. Set aside. Proceed to pie crust.
- If doing this by hand, mash sweet potatoes well with a potato masher or large fork. Follow steps 3 and 4, but blend with a hand mixer. Set aside when filling is complete. Proceed to pie crust.
Pie Crust Yields: 2 simple, foolproof pie crusts. (Note: this recipe requires 3/5’s of this dough; the rest may be baked into cinnamon sugar strips.)
1 1/4 cup unbleached white flour (Bob’s Red Mill organic is the best.)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (I grind 2/3 cup organic soft winter wheat berries, to make 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour.)
1 tsp salt
2/3 cup oil (Grapeseed or canola oil is best.)
1/3 cup, plus 1 tbsp, boiling water
Wax paper (This makes for a mess-free rolling out of the pie crust.)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- With a fork, blend flours and salt together in a medium bowl.
- Mix in oil and boiling water until all flour is incorporated.
- Form into two balls and cover in plastic wrap. (One ball should be 3/5’s of the dough; the other smaller ball can be made into cinnamon strips and baked along with the pie.) Place balls on top of hot oven to keep warm.
- Using a rolling-pin, roll out larger ball between 2-18″ pieces of wax paper. Make a big, slightly oblong circle-12 1/2″ x 15″-with the dough (see above photo). Peel off top piece of wax paper. Turn upside down and gently place pie crust over a 10-inch pie plate; the wax paper side is up. Very carefully peel the wax paper off. With fingers, seal any cracks in crust and form a rim around the edge of plate with the dough; patch lean areas of the crust with excess from other areas.
- Pour the sweet potato puree in the pie crust. Bake for 1 hour, or until a knife comes out clean, when inserted in center.
- This is good!