Pentagrams are an ancient symbol, but lately they’ve been popping up everywhere from forearms to TV shows to um…bikinis. I too seem to have been caught under the pentagram’s spell; I've recently developed an affinity for the encircled, five-pointed star.
The pentagram carries different spiritual meanings depending on the cultures in which it appears (from Mesopotamia to Freemasonry, Christianity to the occult), but in the Tarot, the "pentacles" correspond astrologically with Taurus, along with the other Earth signs Virgo and Capricorn. In general, the symbol is associated with Mother Earth, craft, the accumulation of knowledge, physicality, and tradition. It also represents stability, grounding forces, and feminine power—ever noticed the 5-pointed star on Wonder Woman’s projectile crown? And if those weren’t enough reasons to start brandishing a pentagram medallion, there's also the British folk-rock band Pentangle, one of my favorites, whose name comes from the Middle English poem Sir Gawain and the Green Night, and whose album covers sport some of the best pentagram designs I’ve seen.
Last year for Halloween, I went as the Tarot’s Queen of Pentacles (Rider-Waite-Smith edition) and carried along the occult sacrament of a Pentagram Pie for all the witchy revelers to feast upon. I used a sweet potato filling for fall seasonality and earthiness (both concerns that fall under the jurisdiction of the Queen of Pentacles), the Halloween-appropriate hue, and because I thought the sweet potatoes would create ample support for a crust design that bears the heavy weight of 5,000 years of spiritual meaning. For the pentagram, cut five long strips out of dough and arrange them in the form of a 5-pointed star across the pie. You can weave them through each other like a lattice, if desired (is pentagram the new lattice top?!).
Serve and summon the spirits.
Sweet Potato Pentagram Pie
Adapted from Cheryl Day's Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook
Nothing-in-the-House pie crust, or your favorite double-crust recipe
1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes (1-2 taters), cooked, peeled, and mashed
1 c. heavy cream
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tblsp. sorghum or blackstrap molasses
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1 Tblsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. cardamom
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. mace
1/2 tsp. ginger
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1. Prepare Nothing-in-the-House pie crust or your favorite pie crust as per the directions, reserving the leftover egg for an egg wash. Chill dough at least 1 hour before rolling out the bottom crust (half of the dough) and fitting into a greased and floured 9-inch pie pan. Pierce the bottom of the shell all over with a fork, and let chill for 15 more minutes in the fridge. Return the other half of the crust to the fridge.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place mashed sweet potatoes in a large mixing bowl or Witchen-Aid mixer. Add the heavy cream, eggs, and sorghum or molasses and whisk until fully incorporated.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugars, flour, cardamom, cloves, mace, ginger, and salt. Add to the sweet potato mixture and stir until smooth.
4. Pour the filling into the pie crust. Roll out your top crust and cut 5 long strips of the dough. Arrange them over the filling in the shape of a pentagram, weaving some strips under as you would for a lattice top, if desired. Brush crust with an egg wash and bake for 40-50 minutes until the filling is form around the edges but still jiggles slightly in the center when you shake it. Let cool completely.
Authors Note: Alternative names for this post and/or Pentagram Pie slogans to share at your Halloween party include:
• Easy Bake Coven
• Oven-to-Coven Is The New Farm-to-School
• Just Like Your Pentagram-ma Used To Make