sweet potato pecan pie / by Maci Britt

It's bad practice to post a holiday recipe after a holiday, I know.

But hey, until about noon the day before Thanksgiving, I didn't even know if I'd be able to pull off a pie this year. This pie was made possible by a [terrific] boss who walked in on Wednesday morning and said, "We're going home early today." (Bless her.) 

This is the only pie I ate this year, and I like it better than pumpkin. I also might just like the fact that I didn't eat pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and the world is still in orbit. (#nontraditionalist)

Last year after Sunset magazine published the recipe for this pie, I made it on a weekday, just for fun, because that's what I used to do before I was employed. So if you have the time, you don't need a special day. Make it whenever, for no specific reason. 

sweet potato pecan pie
recipe adapted from sunset magazine, nov 2014
crust from smitten kitchen

[ makes one 9-inch pie ]

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and bake the sweet potatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet for about 1 ½ hours, until they're very easily pierced with a fork. Let the potatoes cool, then puree until smooth, either in a food processor or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer. Measure 2 cups for the filling (eat the rest). 

While the potatoes bake, make the crust. Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a medium mixing bowl. Cut in the butter with your fingers or a pastry blender until the largest pieces are a little smaller than peas. Add ¼ cup of water and mix with a fork until the dough comes together. Add the extra water 1 tablespoon at a time if needed. Knead the dough a couple of times in the bottom of the bowl just to bring it together. Turn the dough out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Wrap it up and flatten slightly into a disc. Pop it into the freezer for about 15 minutes to chill. 

Lightly spray a standard 9-inch pie pan with coconut oil. Remove the dough from the freezer, place on a lightly floured work surface, and roll out into a 13-inch circle. Gently fold the crust into quarters and place it over the pie pan. Unfold and ease the dough into the bottom of the pan without stretching it. If there are any major overhangs, trim them off with a knife. Fold the rest under, then crimp however you like. Pop the pie pan back into the freezer for about 20 minutes, or until solid. 

When the potatoes have finished baking, turn the oven up to 400 degrees. Spray a piece of foil with coconut oil, press it into the pie pan over the dough, and fill with pie weights or something like dried beans. Par-bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and set the crust aside while you make the filling. 

In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with an electric mixer for a couple of minutes until frothy. Mix in the 2 cups of sweet potato puree. Add the sugars, cream, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, allspice, and nutmeg, and beat until smooth and combined. 

Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the top. Wrap the edges of the crust in foil and bake for 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, make the topping. Whisk the sugar, syrup, butter, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon together in a small bowl. Add the pecans and toss to coat. 

Remove the pie from the oven and drop the pecan mixture around the edge by the spoonful. Take the foil off the edges of the pie before it goes back in the oven, unless the crust is already too golden. 

Bake the pie for 15-20 more minutes. The center of the crust should only jiggle slightly when shaken gently. 

Cool the pie for at least 2 hours before serving. You can make the pie up to one day ahead

for the crust:

1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

1 ½ teaspoons sugar

½ teaspoon salt

1 stick cold butter, cut into cubes

¼ cup cold water, plus an additional 1-2 tablespoons

for the filling:

2 pounds sweet potatoes

3 large eggs

⅔ cup light brown sugar

⅓ cup sugar

3 tablespoons heavy cream

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon allspice

¼ teaspoon fresh nutmeg, grated

for the pecan topping:

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

1 tablespoon dark corn syrup (ick, but it's only a tablespoon)

1 tablespoon butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

¾ cup pecans, coarsely chopped