Friday, December 23, 2016

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie | Nothing in the House

I'm a person who has difficulty with choices. Growing up, my family called me "yes/no girl" and my astrological chart, cast by my friend when I was in my mid-twenties, revealed a seesaw-- in which the planets were situated almost directly across from each other, offering an explanation for my chronic indecisiveness. On the flip side, that curse does come with the blessing of the ability to see see both sides of an issue; I make a pretty good mediator-- when my own choices aren't involved.

My frequent vacillation (most exacerbated when deciding between two good options) extends to my dessert menu making. Faced with so many possibilities, I tend to avoid a decision and make as many desserts as I can, and hence, overextending myself. "We need something with chocolate, fruit, and nuts-- at the very least!" To combat this, I've learned to seek out desserts that combine those disparate flavors into one dish-- a way to avoid a decision altogether. That's one reason why I like the Cranberry Chess Pie so much-- it's a perfect combination of the tartness of cranberries and the smooth, buttery custard of a chess pie.

Assorted Pies | Nothing in the House

The past two Thanksgivings, when my list of pies was growing long, I decided to combine the sweet potato and pecan pies on my list into one Sweet Potato Pecan Pie. The pecan filling is salty and sweet, using only brown sugar as a sweetener, while the sweet potato filling, enriched with coconut milk, adds a smooth savory note. Now to like this pie, you probably need to already be a fan of both sweet potato and pecan pie. This year, I watched as my grandmother scooped all of the pecan filling off of the top and only once that was gone, did she venture slowly, perhaps begrudgingly, into the sweet potato filling. But if you're a fan of both pies, and/or just have trouble with decisions, this is the dessert for you.

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie | Nothing in the House

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

Ingredients
For the crust:
Nothing in the House pie crust, halved
Turbinado sugar

For the sweet potato filling:
3 cups (2 3/4 lbs.) sweet potatoes
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

For the pecan topping:
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon bourbon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups pecans, halved

Directions
1. Prepare half of Nothing in the House pie crust as per the directions, reserving the leftover egg for an egg wash. Chill dough at least one hour before rolling and fitting into a greased and floured 9-inch pie pan. Let chill for 15 more minutes in the fridge. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. For the sweet potato filling: Poke sweet potatoes all over with a fork and place them on a large, foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for about 1 hour until tender. Let cool completely, then peel and coarsely mash. Measure out 3 cups of mashed sweet potatoes & reserve the rest for another use.

3. In a food processor, combine butter with the granulated sugar and purée until smooth. Add the 3 cups of sweet potatoes and purée until very smooth. With the machine still on, add the eggs one at a time until each is incorporated. Add coconut milk, ginger, salt, and cloves, and pulse until no streaks remain.

4. For the pecan topping: In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and flour until well-mixed. Add the butter and place the pan over medium heat. Stirring constantly, cook until butter is melted and combined with the sugar mixture. Remove from heat and set aside.

5. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla, bourbon, and salt until well-combined. While gently stirring, slowly pour the warm sugar mixture into the egg mixture. Whisk until all ingredients are incorporated. Gently fold in the pecans.

6. Pour the sweet potato filling into the bottom of the chilled pie crust, until about 2/3 full. Add the pecan topping on top (depending on the depth of your pie plate, you may have some leftover filling). Brush crust with egg wash and sprinkle with Turbinado sugar.

7. Place the pie on the bottom shelf of the oven. Bake 40-50 minutes until the edges puff and the center is fairly firm, wiggling only a little when you nudge it. Filling will be browned. Let pie cool for at least 30 minutes. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature with a scoop of bourbon whipped cream.


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