New School Sweet Potato Pie

Recipe and photo contributed by Johnisha Levi Yield:  8 slices
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time:  55 minutes

New School Sweet Potato Pie

Smooth and luscious sweet-potato filling inside a gingersnap crust with just the right amount of spice. Bonus: the gingersnaps are gluten free (hence the name "New School").

Ingredients

Crust:

1½ cups finely ground gluten-free gingersnap crumbs (we like Trader Joe’s brand)

½ cup hazelnut, pecan, or almond meal

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground mace

¼ teaspoon salt

⅛ teaspoon white pepper

5 tablespoons (70 grams) butter, melted

 

Filling:

2½ cups sweet potato puree (from 3 pounds of baked sweet potatoes; See Kitchen Tips)

½ cup (99 grams) granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 egg yolk

1 cup heavy cream

¼ cup maple syrup (preferably Grade A medium or anything lighter in flavor than Grade B)

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (optional)

2 teaspoons orange zest

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon mace

¼ teaspoon white pepper

Instructions

To make the crust:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients except the butter and whisk to evenly distribute. Add the butter and stir to moisten the gingersnap mixture.
  3. Press the gingersnap mixture into the bottom and up the sides of a pie pan. Bake until the crust is set, 10 to 12 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and use a paper towel to gently press down any areas of the crust that have puffed up.

To make the filling:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the sweet potato puree and sugar on low speed until combined.
  3. Add the eggs and the extra yolk to the sweet potato, and mix until fully incorporated.
  4. Add the heavy cream, maple syrup, Grand Marnier (if using), and zest to the sweet potato mixture, mixing until combined. Last, add the cinnamon, mace, and white pepper.
  5. Ladle the filling into the pre-baked crust (you may have some filling leftover). Bake on the middle rack until the filling is set and no longer wobbly in the center, 45 to 50 minutes, rotating the pie 180 degrees midway through.
  6. Cool completely on a wire rack before slicing and serving.

Kitchen Tips

I am a huge proponent of baking instead of boiling or microwaving sweet potatoes. It is worth the time for the deep flavor that you will coax out of them. Baked sweet potatoes take on beautiful notes of brown sugar and caramel. Punch holes in the sweet potatoes with a fork, wrap them in foil and bake them on a sheet pan (to catch any escaping liquid) at 400°F until they are squishy to the touch, 1½ to 2 hours. Let them cool enough to handle, and the skin will peel off very easily. The potato flesh will be incredibly tender. To achieve an extra silky pie custard, I put the potatoes through a ricer (or a food mill if you have one). Do you have to do either of these steps? No. But if you do, you will be very pleased with the result.

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