Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie-1-16For the typical Slavic person, the idea of a sweet potato pie can seem a little bit odd. When our family first came to America, many ingredients that we saw in grocery stores were a mystery to us. We had never seen sweet potatoes in Belarus, and during the first years that we moved to the United States, we would gaze at sweet potatoes in the stores and cookbooks and have no idea how to cook with them.

One year when I was a teenager, someone happened to give us a whole bag of sweet potatoes. Here was the perfect chance to try out these interesting spuds. The frugal immigrant nature in us demanded that we make good use of any food that was set before us, so we began the search for sweet potato recipes. Of course, we quickly found many pie recipes and that’s exactly what we made. We didn’t know what to expect, but as my parents, five siblings and I all crowded around the kitchen table, we were all eager to try this orange dessert made from POTATOES. The pie was a hit with all of us and for the next few weeks, we made the rest of the sweet potatoes into pies too.

This year, as I was walking through the grocery store, the display of sweet potatoes caught my eye and quickly brought back memories of that first time that I tried sweet potatoes. When I mentioned the idea of making a sweet potato pie to my husband, he was very skeptical. Just like a typical Belarussian, who can only imagine regular potatoes that can be mashed, roasted, fried and most definitely served with meat, he wasn’t sure if he liked the idea of eating a sweet potato pie.

Well, he’s a very nice guy and has learned to humor me with my food ideas throughout the years, so we brought those orange taters home. When he came home from work one evening and saw me slicing up the pie, he was happy to give it a try. Guess who asked for a slice to take with him to work the next day and was really excited to have some more pie after dinner three nights in a row?

I played around with the recipe to make a very creamy filling that didn’t taste like a version of pumpkin pie. The light and creamy custard-like filling is so smooth. The addition of cognac, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg really give a lot of flavor to it. I also thought it would be fun to have a streusel topping, so I made one with shredded coconut and pecans. 

Ingredients:

1 single crust pie dough

Filling:

2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2-2 1/2 cups pureed, cooked sweet potato)

3 eggs

2 egg yolks

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1-2 Tablespoons cognac or bourbon

Topping:

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup butter, cold

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup shredded coconut

1/4 cup pecans, chopped

Instructions:

Sweet Potato Pie-1-27The Sweet Potatoes:

To cook the sweet potatoes, you can do it in the microwave, on the stovetop or in the oven.

For the microwave method, wash and pierce the sweet potatoes with a paring knife and microwave until they are soft. You can boil them in water on the stovetop until they are soft, either in their skin or peel them and cut them into chunks and steam them until soft.

I like using my oven, so I washed the potatoes, pierced them with a paring knife, drizzled with a bit of oil, wrapped them in 2 layers of aluminum foil (you can also use parchment paper) and baked them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until they were soft and could be easily pierced with a knife, 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the potatoes. This is something you can do several days in advance.

Sweet Potato Pie-1-30

Sweet Potato Pie-1-29

Sweet Potato Pie-1-28The Crust:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the pie crust, you can use store bought pie crust, or use one of the recipes that I already have:

Hazelnut Pie Crust – you can omit the hazelnuts, or use another nut.

Pie Crust – halve the recipe, since you will only need a single crust, or use the other half in another recipe. Pie dough freezes beautifully, so I always make a double crust and then I have an extra pie crust to make into a quick dessert another time.

The pie dough needs to be in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (Dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, let dough thaw completely on counter before rolling it out.)

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie crust into approximately 11-12 inches and place it in a 9 inch pie pan. Trim the really long pieces of pie crust off with kitchen scissors, leaving about 1/2 inch of dough hanging off the edge of the pie pan.  Fold the excess dough, so it will be underneath the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the edges into whatever design you want. I rolled out the pie dough scraps and made it into a braid. Loosely wrap the pie pan with plastic wrap and place it into the freezer until it’s firm, about 15 minutes. This will help the pie crust from slumping over when it’s baked.

Sweet Potato Pie-1-26Line the chilled pie crust with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Take the pie crust out of the oven and set aside to cool, removing the parchment and the pie weights.

Sweet Potato Pie-1-20Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Filling:

Peel the sweet potatoes and place them into a food processor. Mix to combine. Sweet Potato Pie-1-25Add the rest of the filling ingredients and mix to combine. Sweet Potato Pie-1-24

Sweet Potato Pie-1-23Pour the filling into the pre baked pie crust. Sweet Potato Pie-1-19If you want the crust to be extra golden and glossy, brush the pie crust edges with an egg wash.

The Topping:

Sweet Potato Pie-1-22In a medium bowl, use a fork to cut in the cold butter into the flour. Don’t work it too hard, you should still have pea sized lumps. Add the brown sugar, coconut flakes and chopped pecans. Mix to combine. Sweet Potato Pie-1-21Sprinkle the topping over the pie filling.

Sweet Potato Pie-1-18Bake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes. Sweet Potato Pie-1-17Cool completely before serving. You can make the pie several days in advance and store it in the refrigerator.Sweet Potato Pie-1-16

Sweet Potato Pie
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Sweets
Serves: 1 (9 inch) pie
Ingredients
  • 1 single crust pie dough
Filling:
  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 2-2½ cups pureed, cooked sweet potato)
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ - ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 Tablespoons cognac or bourbon
Topping:
  • ¼ cup flour
  • ¼ cup butter, cold
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup pecans, chopped
Instructions
The Sweet Potatoes:
  1. To cook the sweet potatoes, you can do it in the microwave, on the stovetop or in the oven.
  2. For the microwave method, wash and pierce the sweet potatoes with a paring knife and microwave until they are soft. You can boil them in water on the stovetop until they are soft, either in their skin or peel them and cut them into chunks and steam them until soft.
  3. I like using my oven, so I washed the potatoes, pierced them with a paring knife, drizzled with a bit of oil, wrapped them in 2 layers of aluminum foil (you can also use parchment paper) and baked them at 400 degrees Fahrenheit until they were soft and could be easily pierced with a knife, 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the potatoes. This is something you can do several days in advance.
The Crust:
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. For the pie crust, you can use store bought pie crust, or use one of the recipes that I already have:
  3. Hazelnut Pie Crust - you can omit the hazelnuts, or use another nut.
  4. Pie Crust - halve the recipe, since you will only need a single crust, or use the other half in another recipe. Pie dough freezes beautifully, so I always make a double crust and then I have an extra pie crust to make into a quick dessert another time.
  5. The pie dough needs to be in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. (Dough can be wrapped tightly in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen for up to 1 month. If frozen, let dough thaw completely on counter before rolling it out.)
  6. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pie crust into approximately 11-12 inches and place it in a 9 inch pie pan. Trim the really long pieces of pie crust off with kitchen scissors, leaving about ½ inch of dough hanging off the edge of the pie pan. Fold the excess dough, so it will be underneath the edge of the pie plate. Crimp the edges into whatever design you want. I rolled out the pie dough scraps and made it into a braid. Loosely wrap the pie pan with plastic wrap and place it into the freezer until it's firm, about 15 minutes. This will help the pie crust from slumping over when it's baked.
  7. Line the chilled pie crust with parchment paper and fill it with pie weights. Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes. Take the pie crust out of the oven and set aside to cool, removing the parchment and the pie weights.
  8. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Filling:
  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and place them into a food processor. Mix to combine.
  2. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and mix to combine.
  3. Pour the filling into the pre baked pie crust. If you want the crust to be extra golden and glossy, brush the pie crust edges with an egg wash.
The Topping:
  1. In a medium bowl, use a fork to cut in the cold butter into the flour. Don't work it too hard, you should still have pea sized lumps. Add the brown sugar, coconut flakes and chopped pecans. Mix to combine.
  2. Sprinkle the topping over the pie filling.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 45-55 minutes.
  4. Cool completely before serving. You can make the pie several days in advance and store it in the refrigerator.

6 Comments

  • guest

    yum, i think i will try. my husband and i are both Ukrainians and we love love sweet potatoes and yams. our favorite way to eat them is homemade sweet potato fries, and we eat them with organic trader joes ketchup. we can eat them as a whole meal!
    Treat your husband now that hes tried:
    peel sweet potatoes,cut into fries toss with with sea salt, black pepper,garlic powder, paprika, olive oil and cornstarch. bake at 400 for 25-30min, or so, turning once.

  • Tatyana

    Wow, love the braided edge! What an awesome idea! We love sweet potatoes so can’t wait to try this recipe. Thank you!

    When we first moved from Ukraine, we also did know how to use many items in the produce section. I will never forget one time when Dad was patiently waiting by the grocery cart while Mom and I were looking for things. He happened to stand by a large display of collard greens, which were unknown to us. Another shopper was trying to make conversation while picking out some greens and so asked Dad if those greens were any good. Dad’s response: “Sure, perfect for rabbits!” The shopper just smiled, puzzled, and walked away.

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