Let me be frank. This is not a happy pie. This pie speaks of isolation and deprivation in the midst of plenty. This is the pie a prison cook might make for Thanksgiving after the warden goes back on his promise of pumpkins. This is the pie Orwell might have made at Wigan Pier. This pie is two steps below soul food. It is a scary, scary pie. Okay! This recipe makes two pies, so halve everything if you only want one. I started off with two large potatoes, which I peeled, boiled, mashed, and let cool. I stirred in a stick of butter (a quarter-pound, 100 grams), two cups of sugar (400 grams), two eggs and two cups of milk (500 milliliters). This scared me. It's not particularly far from a recipe I use for potato soup. It was not very thick, so I decided to slowly heat it to allow the potato starch to thicken. This took some time. I learned that this recipe is not initially forgiving of lumpy mashed potatoes. The small non-mashed bits of potato were floating loose in the liquid. Also, some of them scorched on the bottom of the pan, turning a light tan filling into a russet color as I hurriedly stirred the pot. I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract and a teaspoon of what is called "pumpkin spice" to the mixture, mainly cinnamon and nutmeg, because the filling tasted exactly like you would expect: a sweet egg custard made from potato. Like you put flan and French fries in the blender. It took nearly half an hour for the damn filling to thicken; or rather, the lumpy half was thick, but the remainder was less so. At one point I was seriously contemplating adding cornstarch. Yeah, starch to a potato pie. But it finally did thicken, the lumps dissolving into the general puree, and I whisked it smooth. I poured the filling into two prefab uncooked pie crusts, and baked them for forty-ish minutes at about 350 F (175 C). They came out bubbling, looking much like pumpkin pie to the untrained eye, but without the pumpkin pie's creamy custard sheen. On closer examination, these were grainy, raggedy pies that screamed ersatz from every steaming pore. The taste? A sweet pie made from a bland root vegetable. The vanilla and the spices mask most (but not all) of the potato flavor. The potato nature of the pie really comes out in the texture, which is unsettlingly like mashed potatoes. Good with coffee, but what isn't? And if you're on an Atkins diet, forget it. I can't help but think turnips would have given the pie more character. But that way lies madness.