Best Thing We Ate: Sweet Potato Pie at Lula Cafe

January 3, 2014
by Sarah Freeman

Cardamom marshmallows: a work of genius so delicious, we don’t understand why we only recently tasted them for the first time. Cardamom is a strange spice rarely seen on sweet or savory menus. Ipsento has a delicious cardamom-rose latte that has been known to change lives, but besides that, the use of the exotic spice is few and far between.

The winter dessert menu at Lula Cafe has an unassuming item packed with flavor: the sweet potato pie with toasted cardamom marshmallows. It hides among more elegant options like the caramel apple vol-au-vent and pear and gianduja hot fudge sundae, but should not be ignored. Sometimes the most simple dishes are the most difficult. Pastry chef Kelly Helgesen took on the sweet potato pie even after a season saturated with its cousin the pumpkin pie.

The base of the pie is a deep, almost caramelized graham cracker crust. The filling is thick and smooth, with a hint of sweet potato but even stronger notes of baking spices and of sitting around a fire with family (yes, pie can taste like that). The housemade mini-marshmallows cover the slice like a winter wonderland of white mountains with toasted peaks. The cardamom flavor is light, like the texture of the marshmallows themselves, and works well with the subtle sweet potato.

It is impossible not to finish the slice. It is almost just as impossible not to order seconds.

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