Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

I’ve always had a thing for sweet potatoes–the vegetable that doesn’t seem like a vegetable. I also hold pecan pie in high regard (and it always seemed like a rather curious dish–I mean really, what on earth is that filling made of? It just doesn’t seem to resemble anything!). Well, combined, you have a rich and delicious New Orleans style treat (and a remarkably lame transition into this posting): sweet potato pecan pie.

If you’ve never had a sweet potato pecan pie before, I know it sounds weird, but think it over for a moment–doesn’t it just sound awesome? I think that the best way to describe the flavor is as if you made a pumpkin pie and a pecan pie and ate a bite of each at the same time. The flavors mesh really well together–you have those savory spices you’d typically find in a pumpkin pie (e.g. cinammon, nutmeg) combined with that crunchy pecan topping and that mysterious pecan pie custard-like filling. And hey, think of all the beta-carotene…or not. This is the kind of dish that might come off a little too hearty and heavy in the summer, but would be a perfect Thanksgiving-time dessert. It takes a bit of work, but I think the results are really worth it and will definitely be a crowd pleaser.

  • Pie crust
  • Filling:
    • 2 cups peeled, cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
    • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
    • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/4-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp allspice
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk! I always mix these two up and buy the wrong one)
    • 2 Tbsp melted butter
    • Optional: 2 Tbsp brandy, bourbon, or orange juice
  • Topping
    • 1-1.5 cup pecan halves
    • 2 large eggs, slightly beaten
    • 2 Tbsp melted butter
    • 2 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup sugar
    • 1/2 cup dark corn syrup
    • pinch of salt
    • 1/8 tsp cinammon

First thing’s first: prepare your pie crust and set it aside in the fridge while you do everything else. Be sure that your crust and pie dish is deeper than you might be used to. I always make my pie crusts a bit deeper than most other recipes seem to call for, so for once, mine is just right.

Preheat oven to 375?.

Sweet potato pecan pie — some ingredients

Rinse and peel your sweet potatoes. We’re going to boil them (for about 10 minutes) and then mash them down. You might want to coarsely chop them to speed up the boiling. Combine your cooked potatoes with all of the other filling ingredients in a food processor and pulse it until everything is well mixed. Set this aside.

Pie crust, close-up side view

Once the oven is heated, poke a few small holes in your pie crust and bake it alone in the oven for about 20 minutes. If you rush ahead and just pour the filling in, I promise you a soggy pie crust in the end. Trust me, after you go through all this effort, the last thing you want is to be disappointed by something as silly as a moderately soggy crust.

Mix all of the topping ingredients together well in another bowl, set aside. If your pecans are larger than halves, just crumble them up a little with your hands. You don’t want them finely chopped in the food processor because than your topping really won’t look so attractive–after all, if you can’t visibly recognize that they’re pecans, what’s the point? Also, another aside worth mentioning: if you’ve never made a pecan pie before, I’ll venture a guess that you may never have worked with corn syrup before. My first reaction was that surely I could substitute something else since it didn’t sound too appealing, but if you look at a large number of pecan pie recipes out there, you’ll hear very many arguments that corn syrup is a big part of pecan pie. Give it a shot if this is your first time and see what you think.

Pour the filling into your pre-baked pie crust and smooth it out. Bake for another 20 minutes. Again, you could have rushed ahead and just done this earlier on, and flavor-wise, you’d pay no price, but your topping and your filling might get a little too friendly with one another. I’m picky. *shrugs*

Remove the pie and drop the oven temperature to 325?. Pour the topping over your pie. Don’t worry about laying the pecans out in some nice presentable way on top your pie–you could have started out by putting the pecans at the bottom underneath your filling because they’ll simply rise to the top and be coated in a nice pie-filling glaze. Let them do the work for you–you’ve done enough already. Continue to bake for 45 minutes to an hour more (just watch until both the filling and topping are set and more solidified).

All the while, keep an eye on the pie’s progress. You may need to loosely foil the exposed crust halfway through baking to prevent the crust from burning in an ugly looking way.

Sweet potato pecan pie slice

Now be sure to eat your veggies! 😉 I like to eat my slice just a little warm with a good plop of whipped cream on the side…

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2 Responses to “Sweet Potato Pecan Pie”

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    […] was another pie I wanted to revisit, as I’ve come a long way since I first started cooking, so given my southern Thanksgiving […]

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