For me, MLK Day is a day of gratitude, reflection and service. I thank those who devoted their lives to civil rights and fighting injustice. I thank Dr. King for reminding me that one man or woman can have the ability to impact a nation for the better. Today as I share this recipe for Candied Yampanadas, an updated spin on Sweet Potato Pie (one of Dr. King’s favorites I learned) for Peace Through Pie, I remember a gesture, even as small as baking a pie, can bring people together and make an impact in our communities.
For the Candied Yams
3 large sized plump yams or sweet potatoes
1/2 stick salted butter
1/2-3/4 cup granulated sugar (I tend to like more sugar in my candied sweets)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups water
For the Empanadas
2 Pillsbury refrigerated pie doughs
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water (egg wash)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
Optional: For the Simple Cinnamon Glaze
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons milk (I used coconut milk)
For the candied yams, peel yams and slice them in 1/4-1/2 inch slices and place in a pot with all remaining ingredients and cook over medium to low heat covered (add water as needed) and watch occasionally to make sure nothing sticks. Once syrup has thickened (no longer watery) and yams/sweet potatoes are soft when pierced with a fork (about 45-50 minutes), turn off heat and allow the yams to cool and thicken further for about 10 minutes. Then mash together a bit to form smaller pieces of yams.
To assemble pies, preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll out 1 Pillsbury refrigerated pie dough on a lightly floured surface. Using a cutter sized 3-4 inches round, cut dough into 10-12 rounds. Place the cut rounds on parchment paper inside a baking sheet approximately 1 inch apart. Repeat process with second refrigerated pie dough.
Place 1heaping tablespoon of candied yams in one half of each round. Make sure to leave about a quarter of an inch of all sides around the outer edge.
Next brush the edges of the dough with egg wash and fold the dough over to cover the yams. Use a fork to seal and crimp the edges of each pie.
Brush each pie with egg wash and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.
Bake for 25 minutes until nice and golden brown.
Optional: To make the glaze, whisk together confectioner’s sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and milk until consistency is perfect for drizzling. Drizzle over the tops of pies or serve on the side as a dipping glaze.