Sweet Potato Pie Guest Post

Our Thanksgiving spread, with one of the sweet potato pies on the near end of the table, wedged between gravy, spicy radishes, and stuffing.

The following is a guest post by my wife, Ligaya Beebe. Her sweet potato pie was the star of our Thanksgiving dinner, which I’ll write about later in my own post. Anyway, take it away Ligaya:

This recipe is a relatively faithful adaptation of this recipe which is itself an adaptation from Cook’s Illustrated.

Pie Dough

1-1/4 cups flour

½ tsp salt

1 tbs sugar

4 tbs unsalted butter, chilled, cut into small pieces

3 tbs bacon fat, chilled

4-5 tbs ice water

I watched a few youtube videos before making this because it was my first time making pie dough. My favorite advice came from Hands That Cook. She suggests you only make pie dough if your heart is light and merry. If you’re angry, you risk taking out your anger on the dough and overworking it.

Whisk together flour, salt and sugar in a bowl. Use hands to incorporate butter with dry ingredients by squeezing butter into smaller and smaller bits. Do this until the mixture turns into a coarse meal. It’s okay if there are large chunks of butter left.

Incorporate bacon fat using the same method.

Sprinkle ice water into the mixture a little at a time. Fold water into the mixture until the dough barely comes together into a ball. I followed the original recipe’s advice for testing for dough readiness:

Test for readiness by squeezing a golf ball size portion in the palm of your hand. It should hold together, but not be sticky. If it’s still crumbly, add up to 1 tablespoon more of the ice water.

Gather the dough ball together and flatten into a round disk. This will make it easier to roll out later. Wrap your dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or up to two days).


Pie shell to pie crust

Roll out the dough and place into pie pan. Make sure dough is flush with the pan. Trim excess dough around the edges and flute (either pinch around the edges or use a fork to press around the circumference). You now have a pie shell!

Put the pie shell in the fridge for 40 minutes. The original recipe calls for freezing the pie shell for 20 minutes after this, but I couldn’t wait and skipped this step. Heat oven to 375 f (190 c). While pie shell is chilling start cooking the sweet potatoes for the pie filling.

Cover pie shell in foil so foil is flush with pie shell. I don’t have pie weights, so I used 2 cups of uncooked rice. Place pie weights/uncooked rice on top of foil and bake at 375 f for 17-20 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights and bake for another 9 minutes until the shell turns golden brown. You now have a piecrust! Reduce heat to 350 f.


Pie Filling

2 lbs sweet potatoes

2 tbs unsalted butter

3 large eggs

2 egg yolks

1 cup sugar

½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg

¼ tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

(2/3 cup whole milk)*

¼ cup packed dark brown sugar

Boil sweet potatoes until tender (around 40-50 minutes). They’ll boil faster if they’re in smaller pieces, but mine were practically whole. Drain sweet potatoes and let cool for ten minutes.

While potatoes are cooling, whisk together eggs, egg yolks, sugar, nutmeg and salt. Add vanilla extract. Forget about adding milk because you left it in your scooter.

In a different bowl, mash butter into sweet potatoes and mash to your desired level of creaminess.

Add egg mixture to sweet potatoes a bit at a time and mash to incorporate.

Sprinkle dark brown sugar evenly onto the bottom of your piecrust. If brown sugar gets on the edge of the piecrust it will caramelize and burn. The brown sugar on the bottom of your crust creates a gorgeous sweet layer between the crust and the filling.

Pour pie filling into your warm piecrust.

Bake at 350 f (177 c) for 45 minutes and let rest for 2 hours.

I had a ton of leftover filling so I made a quick crumble (2 cups flour, 1 stick butter, 1 cup brown sugar). I poured the leftover filling into another pie tin, topped with the crumble, and baked at 350 f (177 c) for 45 min.

I suggest you eat this incredible sweet potato pie as a side dish rather than a dessert.

*note: I made this recipe twice and completely forgot the milk the second time. The first pie was creamier, but much richer (actually I used heavy whipping cream instead of milk). The second pie’s filling was drier and had a more bread-like, rustic texture. I prefer the second, sans milk version.


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