And let the countdown begin! It is less than one week from one of the biggest food holidays of the year… if not the BIGGEST! It’s time to break out the old family favorites (along with the stretchy pants)! You know…the dishes you couldn’t call it Thanksgiving without!
Growing up my Mom was an incredible cook, but my Gram was the “Head Honcho” of Thanksgiving dinner! She came from a family of 11, so planning and pulling off a holiday meal EXTRAVAGANZA was no problemo for Gram! I can close my eyes and remember waking up Thanksgiving morning to the smell of onions and celery cooking for the holiday stuffing. Gram would sit at the kitchen table cutting up marshmallows for the pineapple marshmallow salad while watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and every so often mosey over to the oven to baste the old Thanksgiving bird! OHH the memories!
Well, in 1993 the traditions at the Hardy Thanksgiving table changed. That was the year my twin sister Patty married my brother-in-law Ken. So not only did we gain a new member to our family, but a few weeks before Thanksgiving Ken shared his family’s Thanksgiving favorite…SWEET POTATO PIE. In other words, “hey I have been eating this pie for Thanksgiving my whole life so someone PLEASE make one!”
So I set out to find a recipe that Uncle Ken would give the thumbs up. The winning recipe was from the cookbook Vineyard Seasons by Susan Branch. This delicious sweet potato pie has a crunchy pecan topping and can be eaten warm or cold. You can enjoy it with your meal as a side or for dessert topped with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. I hope this sweet potato pie becomes a holiday tradition at your house as it has been at mine for the last 21 years thanks to Uncle Ken. And remember when you slice it up as Ken would say, “go BIG or go home!” HAPPY THANKSGIVING to you and your family!
- 1 9 inch pie shell, your favorite homemade or Pillsbury Refrigerated pie crust
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 2 cups cooked dark orange sweet potatoes (about 2 large sweet potatoes)
- 5 Tbsp. butter, softened
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp. ginger
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
- 2/3 cup chopped pecans
- 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
- To make the filling: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prick sweet potatoes with a fork and bake for 40 minutes or until fork tender. Let them cool and then peel. Mash the potatoes and measure out 2 cups. To the 2 cups of mashed potatoes add the butter, eggs, heavy cream, granulated sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Use a hand mixer to mix until well blended (about 2 minutes).
- To make the crust: Lower oven to temperature to 375 degrees. Prick your pie crust with a fork all over (bottom and sides). Line the crust with a piece of parchment paper and fill with dried beans. Bake the crust for 15 minutes with the beans, and then remove from oven. This is called blind baking your pie crust. You blind bake the crust so that the bottom of the crust does not get soggy during baking. Remove the beans and parchment and add the 1/2 chopped pecans and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the crust from the oven and let cool then pour in the filling.
- To make the topping: Combine all ingredients for the topping with a fork till mixture looks like crumbs. Sprinkle crumb mixture over pie filling.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and place pie on cookie sheet and bake for 30 minutes. I love it served warm as a side or topped with whipped cream or ice cream for dessert.
Adapted from Vineyard Seasons cookbook by Susan Branch.