Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

  • Total Time

    1 hour 45 minutes

In some parts of the American South, sweet potato pie is the quintessential Thanksgiving dessert. In others, pecan pie is de rigueur. This recipe mashes the two together with a custardy spiced sweet potato filling and glossy pecan topping. (Beat that, pumpkin pie.)

The key is to purée the sweet potatoes just enough so that they retain a bit of texture—we’re not looking for baby food here. For ease we mix the pie filling in a food processor, but if you don’t have one, you can easily achieve the result using a potato masher—just mash the cooked sweet potatoes in a separate mixing bowl before stirring in the remaining wet ingredients.

We call for a frozen pie crust, but you can swap in our buttery Actually Perfect Pie Crust if you’re feeling super DIY and have a deep-dish pie pan. Either way, you’ll need to blind-bake it (read more in our guide to blind-baking; and make sure you pick up our favorite pie weights).

If lining pecans into concentric circles gives you agita, or you happen to have a bag of chopped pecans or pecan pieces in the cupboard, feel free to skip the design and make the swap—you’ll need about 113 grams of pecans total. Top with slightly sweetened softly whipped cream or  a scoop of vanilla ice cream to gild the lily.

For the full story behind this recipe, read this essay by Dolen Perkins-Valdez.

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Ingredients

8–10 servings

1

9″-diameter store-bought frozen deep-dish pie shell, thawed

2

medium sweet potatoes (about 1 lb.), scrubbed

cup (67 g) granulated sugar

¼

cup heavy cream

tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

¼

tsp. ground cinnamon

¼

tsp. kosher salt

3

large eggs, room temperature

tsp. vanilla extract, divided

5

Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temperature, divided

¾

cup light corn syrup

1

cup (or more) raw pecan halves

Preparation

  1. Step 1

    Place a rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 375°. Line one 9″-diameter store-bought frozen deep-dish pie shell, thawed, with 2 sheets of parchment paper, leaving overhang, and fill to edges with pie weights or dried beans. Set pie dish on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet. Bake pie crust until edges are golden brown and bottom is opaque (carefully lift parchment to check), 20–25 minutes. Remove from oven; reduce oven temperature to 350°. Using overhang, lift out parchment and weights. Return pie crust to oven and bake until uniformly golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly; leave oven on.

    Step 2

    Meanwhile, place 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 lb.), scrubbed, in a medium pot; pour in water to cover by 2″. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until sweet potatoes are tender enough to easily pierce with a fork, 30–45 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly. Remove skins.

    Step 3

    Pulse ⅓ cup (67 g) granulated sugar, ¼ cup heavy cream, 1½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg, ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp. kosher salt, 2 large eggs, room temperature, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract in a food processor until combined and no streaks remain; scrape down sides. Add sweet potato flesh and 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter. Pulse just until mixture is mostly smooth with some small bits of sweet potato remaining.

    Step 4

    Melt remaining 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter in a small saucepan, then pour melted butter into a small bowl; let cool slightly. Vigorously whisk in ¾ cup light corn syrup and remaining 1 large egg, room temperature, and ½ tsp. vanilla extract until combined and no streaks remain.

    Step 5

    Pour sweet potato filling into pie crust; smooth top. Pour butter mixture over. Arrange 1 cup raw pecan halves in concentric circles over surface; fill in any gaps with more pecans if needed.

    Step 6

    Bake pie until edges of filling are set but center still wobbles when gently shaken and pecans are golden brown, 40–45 minutes. Transfer to wire rack; let cool at least 2 hours.

    Do Ahead: Pie can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with foil and store at room temperature.