A pecan walks into a bar, orders a shot of Jim Beam and jumps into the glass. The bartender looks at it, shakes his head and says “You’re nuts.”
This has got to be the best sweet potato pie I have ever tasted. It combines a pecan pie topping made from bourbon soaked pecans atop a creamy, spicy, sweet potato filling. I infuse the cooked yams with cinnamon sticks just after baking to give it an earthy cinnamon flavor. It’s lower in fat than most sweet potato pies and not overly sweet.
This recipe works best when the cook is singing along with Ray Charles and James Taylor’s “Sweet Potato Pie” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzZle2RDzTc
3 medium orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, such as Garnet (also called yams)
6 thin cinnamon sticks
3 large eggs
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
3 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream
3 Tablespoons melted unsalted butter
2 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 tsp cayenne
3/4 cup raw pecans halves
3 Tb Jim Beam bourbon
ROAST PECAN MIX: 1 TB brown sugar, a few shakes salt, a few shakes cinnamon
2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 Tablespoon melted unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt (if using salted butter, put in just a pinch)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon 1 Tb heavy cream
Pour bourbon over pecans and let soak for 2 hours. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pecans and put them in a medium bowl. Stir in brown sugar, salt and cinnamon. Preheat oven to 325′ and spread pecans on a sheet of parchment on a jelly roll pan. Roast for 12 minutes, and let cool. You can do this step a few days ahead of time, and store pecans in a container in the fridge.
Make a single pie crust in a standard 9-inch pie pan or a tart pan and freeze it. Blind bake it just before filling.
Roast pierced sweet potatoes on a foil-lined cookie sheet at 375° for about 1 ½ hours until very tender when pierced. Half-way through cooking time (45 minutes), turn the yams over.
Immediately after you pull them from the oven, pierce each end of the potatoes and insert a cinnamon stick lengthwise all the way through each end. Cover yams with foil and let cool. You can do this part a day before. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut off the outer stringy layer and then remove cinnamon sticks. Purée the inner flesh in a food processor until smooth. Measure 2 cups.
Set oven to 350°. Beat eggs in a mixer until frothy. Pour pecan-infused bourbon from pecan soak into the eggs. Beat in remaining filling ingredients until well blended. The filling will be thick. Pour into a hot pre-baked 9″ pie crust and spread level. Use a pie crust protector or wrap pie rim with 4 strips of foil to prevent it from burning, and bake pie for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a small saucepan. Stir in maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon and salt and heat to boiling. Let boil for just a minute, then turn off heat. Add cream and stir until smooth. Stir in pecans, coating them well with the caramel syrup..
Stir in pecans,
Take the pie out of the oven and remove foil from pie crust. Make 2 concentric circles of pecans around the pie. Spoon extra caramel topping over the pecans.
Continue to bake until center jiggles only slightly when shaken gently, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool on a rack at least 2 hours, or overnight.
Enjoy topped with maple-syrup sweetened whipped cream.