Sweet Potato Pie

This pie has several components, but most of them can be made ahead. Roast the sweet potatoes, make the pie dough, and make the salty pecans a day before to ease the work load. Even though it has a few steps, this pie is everyone’s favorite winter dessert. Bonus, the cook gets to play with a blow torch!

This recipe was featured in the Winter Harvest episode of The Farm on Public Television.

Sweet Potato Pie with Salty Pecans and Marshmallow Frosting

Serve 6 to 8

For the pie crust:
11/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3 to 4 tablespoons cold water
For the filling:
11/4 lbs sweet potatoes
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
a pinch of salt
For the salty pecans:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup pecans
1/2 teaspoon salt
For the merengue topping:
3 large egg whites
a pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar

For the pie crust: Stir together the flour and salt in a bowl, then cut in the butter with your fingers until it is mostly combined with some pea-sized lumps. Stir in 3 tablespoons of the water with a fork until combined, the squeeze the dough together with your hand. If it is still crumbly, stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of water. Transfer the dough to a piece of plastic wrap. Using the plastic as a guide, fold the dough over it self several times to form a disk of dough. Wrap the dough in the plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Roll the dough out to an 11-inch round on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch pie tin and press it into the bottom and sides. Trim the dough to 1/2 inch overhang using kitchen sheers.

Prick the bottom and sides of the dough with a fork, then fold the overhang under the edge of the crust and crimp. Place a sheet of foil over the dough. Place pie weights over the foil and bake the crust until it is pale and set, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the foil and pie weights and continue to bake the crust until golden, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let the crust cool completely.

Make the filling: While the crust bakes, bake the sweet potatoes. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork, then wrap them in foil and place them in the oven until tender, about 1 hour. Remove the sweet potatoes and let cool, then peel them and place the flesh in a bowl. Mash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher, then whisk in the brown sugar, heavy cream, milk, eggs, cinnamon and salt. Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake until set, 45 to 55 minutes. Let the pie cool completely.

Make the salty pecans: Melt the butter in a large heavy skillet over medium heat until hot, Stir in the brown sugar, pecans, and salt and cook until the pecans are coated, about 2 minutes. Let the pecans cool.

Make the merengue topping: Whisk the eggs and salt together in a metal bowl, then set it over a pot of gently simmering water. Whisk in 1/4 cup of the sugar and continue to whisk constantly adding the remaining sugar in batches, until the eggs whites have tripled in volume, about 7 minutes. Transfer the bowl to a mixer and continue to whisk the merengue until it hold soft peaks, about 5 minutes more.

Assemble the pie: Spread the nuts over the top of the pie, then place the merengue over the nut layer making decorative dollops. Using a torch, toast the meringue until golden brown. Serve.

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