Sweet Potato Pie with Gooey Pecan Topping

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Makes 1 pie
Adapted from: Taste of the South Magazine
Originally from December 2013 on my old blog

Christmas is undeniably my favorite holiday. I mean, you really can’t compete with it. But, Thanksgiving comes in second place. It’s a day where you can sit around and eat and have an excuse for it!

Thanksgiving foods all have a common theme. None of them are light; they’re all pretty heavy, hearty dishes. They all have this sense of tradition and warmth and comfort. And, they are all delicious! This pie is all of these things and more.

Let’s start with the crust. You can either make your own, or use store-bought, which I did, because I was crunched on time (shhh, don’t tell!). The next layer: the sweet potato. It’s better than pumpkin, for sure. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, not too dense and just really, really good. But, this pie is something special. Unlike a boring old pumpkin pie, it doesn’t stop at the second layer. There’s a whole new, delicious dimension: the gooey pecan topping. Sticky, sweet, crunchy, it’s like a pecan pie, except even better because you still have the smooth, creamy layer of sweet potato underneath. If I wasn’t so stuffed from eating the actual Thanksgiving dinner, I would’ve swallowed this entire pie whole. Not to brag, but it was definitely the biggest crowd pleaser of the night 🙂

Ingredients:

~½ a 14.1 ounce package refrigerated pie crusts (1 sheet), or one disk of your own homemade pie dough
~2 cup mashed sweet potato; about 2 large potatoes (the quickest way to cook them is to pierce them a few times with a fork and microwave them for 6 to 10 minutes with a paper towel underneath them)
~1/3 cup firmly packages dark brown sugar
~2 large eggs, lightly beaten
~2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
~1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
~1 teaspoon vanilla extract
~1 cup evaporated milk
~½ teaspoon orange zest
~¾ teaspoon kosher salt
~½ teaspoon cinnamon

For the Pecan Topping:

~2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
~1 ½ cups firmly packed dark brown sugar
~6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
~2 tablespoons heavy cream
~2 teaspoons vanilla extract
~¼ teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

On a lightly floured work surface, place the pie dough and roll out into a 12-inch circle. Press into the bottoms and sides of a 9-inch deep-dish pie dish (I just used a regular 9-inch pie dish; it doesn’t matter much of a difference really) and prick the bottom a few times with a fork. Fold the edges under and crimp as desired. Place a piece of wax paper or tinfoil in the bottoms of the crust and fill with pie weights (I don’t own pie weights, as I think they’re a waste of money when you could just substitute them with uncooked rice or beans, which is exactly what I did).

Bake the pie crust with the pie weights on top until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and the parchment paper or tin foil. Let cool completely.

In a large bowl, whisk together the mashed sweet potato, brown sugar, eggs, melted butter, flour, salt, zest, and cinnamon. Slowly stir in evaporated milk. Pour mixture into cooled pie crust.

Cover the pie with aluminum foil to prevent burning the crust, and bake until the center of the pie is just set, 35 to 60 minutes (I know it’s a big time span, but the recipe said 35 to 40 minutes but for me it took about 60. Just watch the pie carefully and poke the center often to make sure you’re not overcooking it. Let cool.

For the pecan topping, heat the brown sugar and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the mixture just begins to boil. Add the cream and vanilla, stirring constantly until incorporated. Stir in the pecans and salt; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.

Pour the hot Pecan Topping over the sweet potato layer, spreading to cover edges of the pie. The pie should be refrigerated overnight, but should be left out at room temperature for a few hours before serving.

Happy dining!!

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