All the sudden it’s November, which means that Thanksgiving is coming up fast – and as I’ve gushed before, Thanksgiving is my favorite day of the entire year. Who couldn’t love a holiday all about gathering friends and family for a warm, cozy meal? I’ve been thinking a lot of refreshed classics lately, and Molly’s Sweet Potato Pie definitely applies. Time to start planning our menus, folks…!
Sweet potato pie has long held a certain fascination for me. I think it’s the name, really. It has such a nice ring to it. But with pumpkin, apple, and all of the other obvious choices, I never seemed to get around to trying my hand at it. This October, however, I finally gave this classic recipe a go.
Sweet potato pie is really a southern dessert, and as with many southern recipes, oftentimes the sweeter it is, the better! People have taken to topping the pie with broiled marshmallows, candied nuts or a sticky pecan topping. For me personally, this goes a little too far. My tooth aches just thinking about it!
What I love about sweet potato pie is that it is classic comfort food; non-pretentious and simple, yet hearty.
Here, I’ve both simplified the original and added a couple of twists. In lieu of a traditional pastry crust, I’ve opted for my new favorite crust: a ground pecan crumble that is pressed into a pie tin. The nutty, crunchy crust is delicious with the smooth, lightly spiced filling. Pecans and sweet potatoes are definitely a match made in heaven. Not to mention that this saves a lot of time and work in the kitchen – no need to make a dough or chill and roll pastry!
For the filling, I’ve roasted the sweet potato for maximum flavor (let’s bring out those natural sugars!). Then, I mash this by hand and mix it up with the simplest ingredients. Last but not least, the pie gets a dramatic lift from a lovely dollop of freshly whipped cream.
Sweet, but not too sweet, creamy, but light, and the pecan crust adds just the right amount of crunch. Best of all, it couldn’t be easier to make. Just some mashing and mixing and you have yourself a pie!
Sweet Potato Pie
Makes: 1 8-inch pie
- 1 1/4 cup pecans
- 1/4 light brown sugar
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour (substitute with buckwheat flour to make this recipe gluten-free!)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1 medium sweet potato (about 1 cup mashed)
- 1/2 cup plus 2/3 heavy cream, seperated
- 1/2 teaspoon canola oil
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 2/3 cup heavy cream, lightly whipped
Directions:Make the crust
- Process the pecans in a food processor until finely ground. Add the sugar and pulse to combine. Transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the flour, salt, and butter and stir to combine. Press evenly into a pie tin, taking care to press all the way up the sides of the pan. Bake for 15 minutes, or until fragrant and lightly golden. Cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line a small baking sheet with aluminum foil. Scrub the sweet potato and rub with the oil. Prick with a fork and bake until tender, about 1 hour.
- Once the sweet potato is cool enough to handle, mash until smooth. Measure 1 cup and place in a mixing bowl along with the 1/2 cup cream and remaining ingredients. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Pour into the cooled pie shell and bake until just set, about 50 minutes. Cool completely.
- The pie may be served at room temperature or chilled. When ready to serve, whip the remaining 2/3 heavy cream and dollop decoratively on top. Keep the pie chilled once the whipped cream has been added.
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