Sweet Potato Pie With Pecan Crust
Updated 22nd November 2023
This silky spiced sweet potato pie with a nutty crunchy pecan crust is my favorite southern sweet potato pie recipe. Although this doesn’t look like a classic sweet potato pie because it’s made with purple sweet potatoes, all the classic flavours are still very much in there. It’s made with roasted sweet potatoes, butter, milk, eggs, brown sugar, and all the delicious warming spices that go into a classic. Roasting your own sweet potatoes adds depth of flavour and is always recommended. The twice baked or blind baked crust is slightly shaggier than a regular crust because of the pecans, but it comes together beautifully and has a nice bit of crunch to offset the pie’s creamy and delicious filling, and the nutty flavor plays well with all the warming spices.
Sweet Potato Pie Recipe Ingredients
- PIE DOUGH: I include the recipe for a delicious flaky pecan butter pie crust below, however you are welcome to use any other pie crust you prefer. If you want to use your trusty pie dough recipe or even a store-bought pie crust, feel free to.
- SWEET POTATOES: I like to bake sweet potatoes for the filling as opposed to boiling them for best flavour - you will need approx 2- 2 ½ pounds of sweet potatoes - any variety you like. If you prefer to use canned sweet potatoes that is fine - you will need 2 cups of sweet potato puree
- BUTTER: I use unsalted butter and it adds richness to the filling
- EGGS: You will need 3 whole large eggs and two yolks. They help bind together the filling and add richness. You will also need an extra egg for the egg wash - egg wash is optional though.
- SUGAR: I use light or dark brown sugar to sweeten the filling. You could also swap it out for granulated sugar
- SPICES: This sweet potato pie includes ground cinnamon, ground ginger, ground clove, ground nutmeg and ground black pepper. If your prefer to use pumpkin pie spice you can or your own spice blend. Feel free to add more warming spices like 1/8 tsp ground cardamon or allspice.
- VANILLA EXTRACT: Adds a hint of warm flavour to all sweet baked treats.
- CREAM: I use heavy whipping cream for a nice rich and creamy filling. If you would like to use something lighter I recommend half and half, evaporated milk or whole milk
- BOURBON: This provides a nice layer of flavor to the pie filling and doesn’t create a boozy flavor. Feel free to swap it out for a dark spiced rum or omit if you prefer it without any alcohol
- TURBINADO SUGAR: For sprinkling over edges of pie for a little extra texture. totally optional
How To Make Homemade Sweet Potato Pie
This tasty Sweet Potato Pie is quiet easy to make and here are the simple instructions (full details in recipe card below)
- BAKE POTATOES: (skip if using canned pure sweet potato puree) Bake potatoes until nice and tender, allow to cool then peel. Set aside until you are ready to make the filling.
- MAKE PIE DOUGH: While the potatoes are baking make pie dough. You can use store bought pie dough/pie crust for this recipe if you prefer or even use your own recipe. For this homemade pecan butter pie dough recipe please refer to the recipe card below - recipe, directions for making dough, rolling it out included.
- ROLL OUT PIE, CHILL & BLIND BAKE: Roll out the pie dough, fit into pan, tuck and flute edges. Chill pie crust while preheating oven then blind bake and cool then brush edges with egg wash and sprinkle edges with turbinado sugar if using.
- PREPARE FILLING: Blend or stir together the filling ingredients: Sweet potato flesh/ puree, brown sugar, butter, spices, eggs, yolks, cream, bourbon, butter, and vanilla until smooth. Pour filling into cooled pie crust.
- BAKE PIE: Carefully transfer pie to oven and bake at 350°F until golden brown approx 45 min or until just set. I place a pie shield on top of the pie or tent loosely with foil to prevent the edges from browning too quickly at the 25-30 minute mark
- COOL PIE: Remove pie from oven when done and allow to cool on cooling rack for 2-3 hours before slicing and enjoying
Sweet Potato Pie Storage, Make Ahead and Freezing
- STORAGE: Leftover pie can be wrapped tight with plastic wrap and aluminum foil stored in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- MAKE AHEAD: The Pie Dough - can be made in advance and stored wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 3 days. It can also be wrapped and frozen for up to one to three months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and then rollout as directed. BLIND BAKE ahead - Once baked and cooled, the crust can be wrapped in plastic wrap and kept at room temperature for up to 1-2 days. The Entire Pie can be made and baked the day before which will allow plenty of room for filling to cool and set making this a great make ahead pie recipe. BAKING POTATOES - you can bake the potatoes up to a day ahead to save you some time. Allow them to come to cool completely after baking, then peel and store flesh in an airtight container in the fridge. When ready to use simply allow them t come to room temperature.
- FREEZING: Baked pie freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and allow to come to room temperature before serving. Here is how to do It - Bake and cool pie as directed. Place your pie into the freezer to allow it to initially freeze, for 1-2 hours or preferably overnight. Then, wrap your frozen pie in a layer of plastic wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil. Place the wrapped pie into a freezer-safe storage bag, squeezing out any excess air. Thaw it by moving it to the fridge overnight (or up to 24 hours). Remove wrappings and serve chilled or reheated or let come to room temperature before serving.
Tips for Making Great Pie Dough / Pie Crust
There’s a few things I have learned about pie crust and pie making over the years. I use to have a fear of pie dough but have since learned that it is actually quite forgiving. Here are things to remember:
- Make sure your butter is very cold. I usually chop it into cubes and stick them in a bowl in the freezer until I need them.
- Do not add to much water to the dough even if you are tempted too. You just need to add enough to hydrate the dough. A shaggy dough out of the food processor is what you want. You can always add a touch more if needed but you can’t really take it back if you add too much.
- I strongly recommend making your dough the night before you need it. (Or even sooner - make ahead directions above). The dough behaves a lot better and responds better when being rolled rolled out if it has had ample to time to rest and hydrate. I haven’t researched to back this up, but I find that when I have let it rest overnight as opposed to just one hour there is generally less shrinkage that happens.
- Another thing that helps prevent shrinkage is how you handle the dough especially when placing it into the pan. You should never stretch your pie dough while lifting it into the pan or pressing it into the sides. Always lift up and gently press it into the pan while keeping it lifted instead of pressing it while it’s seated - that will stretch it and it will create areas of shrinkage in the crust.
- You may also have noticed in the video that I use sugar as my pie weights. I learned about that from someone a while back (don’t remember who) but it’s my favourite way to weigh the crust down when I’m baking the crust twice. It fills the crust out more evenly than anything else i have used and I store the sugar in a container and keep reusing it in all my pies.
This is a very tasty pie that I would say is mildly spiced. If you would like to go heavier with the spices feel free to add more of any of them according to your taste. From the crust to the filling there’s so much to love about it. Both the crust and the filling are made in the food processor making it simple and quick to make. I serve mine with a dollop of whip cream and some extra chopped pecans. It’s a real treat! Enjoy!
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For the Pecan Crust
- 3½ ounces pecan halves (approx 1 cup)
- 6 ounces (1 ¼ cup) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into cubes
- 2 ounces (2 tbsp) ice water, plus more if needed
For Egg Wash
- 1 egg for egg wash, whisked
- Turbinado sugar (raw sugar) for sprinkling on crust (optional)
For the Sweet Potato Pie Filling
- 4 small sweet potatoes (approx 2 -2½ pounds), or 2 cups canned pure sweet potato puree
- 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
- 3 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground clove
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Pinch of black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1¼ cups whole milk or cream
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- Place pecans in a food processor and process until finely ground. Add the flour, salt, cinnamon and pulse to combine.
- Add the cold butter and pulse until pieces of butter are pea sized.
- Add the ice water and pulse a few times until loose dough forms.
- Empty out onto a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a disc, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight.
For Sweet Potato Filling
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Place the sweet potatoes on a parchment-lined sheet tray, poke a couple of wholes all over them and roast until tender, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven; let cool.
- Peel and scrape out the sweet potato flesh, discarding the skin. You should have approx 2 cups of cooked sweet potatoes.
- Transfer the sweet potatoes, along with the remaining filling ingredients, into a food processor and purée until smooth on low-medium speed; set aside.
Assembling & Baking
- Remove the dough from the refrigerator and transfer it to a floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to an ⅛-inch thick. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch nonstick pie pan (or a lightly greased one) and trim excess dough around the edge of the pan, fold edges under and crimp edges of the crust decoratively. Poke a couple of holes in dough at the bottom of the pan using a fork and chill in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Remove the dough from the fridge. Place a large piece of parchment paper or foil over the pie dough and fill with dried beans, pie weights, rice or sugar (to weigh down the crust).
- Bake dough at 350 degrees F until fragrant and light golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove the dough and discard the beans and parchment; let cool. Brush edges of crust with egg wash and sprinkle turbinado sugar over edges.
- Pour the sweet potato mixture into the pie and bake at 350 degrees F until the filling is just set, about 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before slicing, about 2 hours.
- Serve with whip cream. Cover leftovers tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- You can turn off oven obviously between baking the potatoes and baking the pie crust and pie if you are making the dough ahead of time. Just make sure the oven is preheated when you partially bake the pie crust and when you bake the pie.
- If you do not have a food processor to blend the sweet potatoes with the filling ingredients - no problem. Simply whisk the cooked potatoes or mash by hand with the filling ingredients in a large bowl until nice and smooth and fully combined or use an electric mixer on low-medium speed.
- One thing to remember to help prevent any large cracks in your pie is to make sure to not over bake it. I tend to check it 10 min before its suppose to be done so that it doesn’t over bake. The outer edges will be on the firmer side but the middle should definitely have some jiggle remaining. Remember the pie will continue to bake in the pie dish for a while longer and that jiggly part will firm up in no time.
- I prefer not to boil the potatoes over baking them because I don’t want extra moisture added to them.
Adapted from Tasting Table