Southern Thanksgiving Recipes

Sweet Potato Pie and Punch at NYC Restaurant Peels

The Southern-style dishes at Peels are what people like to talk about—not least the hush puppies and the ingenious three-in-one pie created by pastry chef Shuna Lydon (chocolate, banana and coconut cream). But Preston and Ginger Madson's frequently changing menu is richer and more diverse than that. Ginger's California roots inform the plancha-seared squid with padron peppers, lime, and cilantro; the farmers' market stalls drive the salad, currently treviso, Tuscan kale and trumpet mushrooms; and that plate of hickory-smoked ham is sourced from Burgers Smokehouse in Missouri. Highlights from the Madsons' Thanksgiving menu hit similar notes: cornbread stuffing with a kick from poblano peppers, delicately creamed collard greens, and giblet gravy deglazed with Jim Beam. Below we serve up the recipes for Peels' sweet potato pie and signature punch:

Sweet Potato Pie

For the dough:

  • 500g plain flour
  • 450g unsalted butter

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 120ml ice water

Instructions for the dough:

Grate butter. Freeze. When frozen, combine with flour and salt, trickling in ice water until shaggy. Press into a flat disc. Wrap tight in cling film. Refrigerate or freeze for two hours.

Two hours later:

Roll dough into two circles. Sprinkle with plain flour as needed. Press into nine-inch round pie plate or tart pan equivalent. Trim edges with scissors so that dough goes just to the top of the baking vessels (not over the edges). Freeze for at least 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Blind bake the shells by lining the interior with parchment paper and filled with baking beans, pennies, or stones for weight. Bake until golden. Take out and set aside. Remove all weights and paper.

For the pie filling (can be prepared up to four days in advance and refrigerated).

(for two pies):

  • 800g roasted sweet potatoes or red yams (peeled after roasting)

  • 3g salt

  • 10 eggs

  • 400g double cream

  • 350g maple syrup

  • 18g spice mixture (see below)

Spice mixture:  

  • 10g nutmeg

  • 25g allspice

  • 15g black pepper

  • 15g cinnamon

  • 3g mace

  • 20g ginger

  • 5g cloves

Grind together and mix until uniform.

Instructions for the filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees Celcius.

  2. Add all ingredients together by whisking.

  3. Pour custard into a prebaked shells leaving ½ to 1cm below top of shell line.

  4. Bake for about 20-30 minutes until custard has soufléed slightly and the interior wiggle is not so liquid-like.

  5. Cool at room temperature for four hours before slicing.  


Peels Punch

  • 2 oz Alto del Carmen Pisco

  • 1 oz Martini Bianco

  • 1/2 oz Hibiscus syrup

  • 1/2 oz lemon juice

Add three shakes Amargo bitters. Chill all together. Enjoy!


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