Ever since I watched that film, I’ve been intrigued by the notion of robot made sweet potato pie. I’ve rarely come across it in the UK, maybe I’m stereotyping this part, but to my mind, sweet potato pie is clearly an American thing (someone can correct me here) In the film, it is made lovingly by the grandmother figure for everyone and anyone who comes to visit.
The hero of the film likes it so much, he just takes the whole pie with him, on his way to work – that’s what I like to see, someone who likes a simple yet tasty dessert made with love!
Inspired by this, I took a moment to look closely at this odd-shaped vegetable, sitting in my cupboard, before deciding to roast it for a short while with a little cinnamon water. Cinnamon water? Yes, let me explain: often, cinnamon in a recipe can be overpowering and a simple way to add a subtle aroma, without overwhelming the delicate flavour of the potato. Use that cinnamon stick again and again (and one more time for good measure!)…
After roasting, I tried to blend it with a few of the usual suspects: eggs, cream, muscovado and hint of dark rum and ginger. The result: a thick gloopy mess, but once strained and blended once more, a silky smooth cream that is simply unbelievable!
Cook gently at 140C, for as long as it might take to get the centre of the pie a little ‘jiggly’, that’s a technical term, by the way, used by professionals the world over! It will set upon cooling. In my imagination, the grandmother and her family are taking spoonfuls, closing their eyes and smiling with nostalgia as their favourite familiar taste brings back memories of childhood…
The reality, however, is that, while delicious (I am shamelessly proud of this version of sweet potato pie!) it is far from the thick filling I recall from the film. Instead, imagine the silkiest, smoothest, creamiest, creme brûlée. Better? I thought so.
The crucial part in the film, in terms of food, and why I’ve decided to call this Robot Made Sweet Potato Pie, is the notion that robots, machines, technology can make exactly the same food we are used to from our childhood made for us by those we love and who love us, and it can be indistinguishable from the look, taste and feel good factor that home cooked food generates..
In a world where bland and machine-processed food often seems the norm, it is refreshing to see cafes offering ‘organic food’, ‘natural food’, ‘lovingly handmade food’, to show they care that their offerings are not always robot made. This is the future I hope that stays with us and with our food..