We last checked in with food writer Diane Morgan in February, when she talked with Evan about winter roots, tubers, and rhizomes (oh my!). She gave us a recipe for Three-Layer Parsnip Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.
But this being summer, it’s time to break out a different kind of dessert. Diane complied with Cuban Malanga Pie from her book Roots: The Definitive Compendium with more than 225 Recipes.
She says grated, raw malanga root tastes like coconut cream.
Read below for the recipe, and click here to enter YOUR delicious pie (or pies) in the 5th Annual Good Food Pie Contest on Saturday, September 7th at LACMA.
Cuban Malanga Pie
(From Diane Morgan’s Roots: The Definitive Compendium with more than 225 Recipes)
Malanga has intriguing qualities when grated raw. Its natural starchiness is apparent, but the grated raw pieces don’t dissolve, which adds a lovely texture to sweets. This is the pie for anyone who loves custard pies. The shredded malanga rises to the top of the cinnamony rich custard as it bakes, sculpturing the surface with thin lacy threads. It looks beautiful and has become a new favorite.
If this pie is appealing but you aren’t a pie baker, then simplify things and buy prepared pie dough or a frozen pastry shell. Just know that this pie dough is really easy and satisfying to work with, and will bring success to even a beginning pie maker.
Makes one 9-in/23-cm pie; serves 8 to 10.
11/4 cups/160 g all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
11/2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
1/2 cup/115 g ice-cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
3 tbsp ice water
11/2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 (14-oz/400-g) can sweetened condensed milk (11/4 cups/300 ml)
1/2 cup/100g firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp kosher or fine sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
11/4 lb/570 g malanga
Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Sweetened whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or coffee ice cream for serving (optional)
To make the dough, in a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, and salt and pulse a few times to mix. Scatter the butter over the top and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water and lemon juice and process for a few seconds, just until a ball of dough begins to form. Do not over-process. (To make the dough by hand,whisk together the dry ingredients in a large bowl, then use a pastry blender to cut the butter into the flour mixture. Add the ice water and lemon juice and mix just until it comes together and forms a mass.)
Transfer the dough to a floured work surface, gathering all of the loose bits, and form into a disk about 1 in/2.5 cm thick. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. (If wrapped well, the dough will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer. Thaw the frozen disk in the refrigerator overnight.)
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Dust the top of the dough with flour.
Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll the dough out into a round 11 in/28 cm in diameter and about 1/8 in/3 mm thick. Roll the dough around the rolling pin, lift it over a 9-in/23-cm pie pan, and unroll the dough over the pan. Adjust the dough as needed to center it on the pan, then press it gently onto the bottom and sides. Trim the excess dough, leaving a 1/2-in/12-mm overhang, and then tuck the overhang under itself to form a double thickness around the rim of the pan. Crimp the edges with a fork or your fingers.
Chill the crust for 20 minutes.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF/180ºC/gas 4.
Line the pie shell with aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with pie weights. Bake the crust until pale golden and set, about 20 minutes. Carefully remove the pie weights and foil , return the pie shell to the oven, and bake for 5 minutes longer. Let cool for about 10 minutes before filling.
Make the filling while the pie shell is pre-baking and cooling. In a large bowl, whisk together the condensed milk, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and nutmeg until completely combined. Set aside.
Fill a large bowl two-thirds full of cold water. Trim, peel, and rinse the malanga as directed on page 000. Cut it into large chunks if you are shredding the malanga in a food processor. Otherwise, cut it in half crosswise. Submerge the malanga in the water as you work to keep them from discoloring. Drain and blot dry before shredding.
Using the large holes of a box grater or a food processor fitted with the coarse shredding disk, shred the malanga. Measure 13/4 cups/455 g of the grated malanga and add it to the filling mixture. Stir until evenly combined.
Pour the filling into the prebaked pie shell, and use a rubber spatula to distribute it evenly. Bake until the filling is set, 50 to 60 minutes. (To keep the pie crust from over-browning at the edges, check the pie at about 40 minutes to see if the crust is darkening too much. Use a pie-crust shield if you have one, or fashion one out of aluminum foil and carefully place it over the crust to shield it from further darkening.) Let the pie cool completely on a wire rack.
To serve, cut the pie into wedges. Dust the wedges with confectioners’ sugar and serve with sweetened whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.