"This looks suspiciously like pumpkin," you must be thinking. But, I am very happy to say that you are wroooong! This is actually sweet potato pie. It tastes a lot like pumpkin pie, it looks a lot like pumpkin pie, but it's not. And it's topped by a delicious cloud of fluffy marshmallowy meringue, which is reminiscent of sweet potato casserole and takes this pie to a place where good ol' pumpkin pie can only dream about. I am not the type to make pies, as uh, I have no patience. And I like things that are already pre-proportioned. Like cookies and muffins and cupcakes and that sorta stuff. But every once in a while, I make pie and I think to myself, "Well, this really isn't bad to make and I'm a pretty good pie maker if I do say so myself. I should make pie more often." But do I? Nope! Pie just seems like a special occasion sorta thing to me, so I only make it on holidays, and usually only when it's cold outside. I'm picky like that.
The recipe originally called for a graham cracker crust, but I like to make things difficult for myself so I made a pate' brisee' crust, aka "cutting butter into flour" crust, and not to sound showoffy, but I think it was the best pie crust I've ever made. I finally followed the advice of leaving kinda large chunks of butter in my crust (as much as my OCD was telling me not to) and I am so very glad I did. The crust came out flaky and delicious and I was very satisfied with the outcome. Wanna know a secret? I had never made pie meringue before, and I think it came out really yummy! I've always been kinda grossed out by the barely-cooked egg whites but this one was different because of folded-in marshmallow creme. It was deeeelicious! I feel silly posting this pie post-Thanksgiving, but maybe you can bookmark it for next year, no? ;) Besides, it's almost December, which I'm sure you know what that means... bring on the Christmas treats! I am so excited! Til then, enjoy drooling at this pie and wishing it was before Thanksgiving so you could make it and not feel like a doofus. :)
Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallow Meringue
Adapted from Martha Stewart and Bon Apetit
Yields: one 9-inch pie
for the pie crust
(makes enough for 2 pie crusts or one double crust pie, but you just need one for this)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp white sugar
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 cup plus 2 tbsp (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
7 tbsp cold water (more or less as needed)
for the filling
3 lbs sweet potatoes (or enough for 2 cups mashed yams)
1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup white sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
for the meringue
7 oz marshmallow creme (1 jar)
3 large egg whites
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup white sugar
First of all, make the crust. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and sugar. Cut the butter in with a pastry blender, two knives, or a food processor until the largest lumps resemble small peas and the smallest are like coarse crumbs. Using a fork, mix in the water a bit at a time until the dough holds together when pinched but isn't too wet. Knead the dough a couple of times to incorporate loose bits, then divide evenly in half, and wrap each half individually in plastic wrap, shaping it loosely into a disk. Refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to overnight. You only need one disk for this recipe!
When the crust is adequately chilled, roll it out and fit into a 9-inch pie dish (not deep-dish!). Preheat oven to 425F. Line the dough with foil and pour pie weights/dry beans on top. Blind-bake the crust for 5-10 minutes (I did 15 and it ended up being a bit much, so watch out), then remove the foil and bake for a couple more minutes. Take the crust out of the oven and let it sit at room temperature while you do everything else.
Lower the oven to 350F. Scrub sweet potatoes well and pierce all over with a fork. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for about 75 minutes, until potatoes are tender and soft. Let cool slightly, then cut open with a knife and scoop out the flesh with a spoon. Run all the mashed potatoes through a blender or food processor until smooth, and measure out two cups. You don't need the rest. Mix in the condensed milk, eggs, sugar, lemon juice, and spices into the measured out sweet potato puree, and pour into your prepared crust. Bake at 350F for about 50 minutes, until filling is puffed around the edges and set in the center. It's okay if your pie is a little overfilled or if it browns... it will all get covered with meringue anyway! Once done, transfer pie to a rack to cool, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours before adding the meringue.
Position your oven rack in the upper third and heat oven to 400F. In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites and salt until foamy. Add in the sugar a tablespoon at a time until whites reach stiff, glossy peaks. In a separate large bowl, scrape all the marshmallow creme out. Mix in about 1/2 cup of the egg whites to lighten the marshmallow, then gently fold in the rest in two additions. The marshmallow creme is very sticky and dense, but it becomes easier to incorporate it into the egg whites as you do it. Spread on top of the chilled pie, mounding it in the center and creating decorative peaks with the spatula (if you can, it was hard!). Bake until meringue is golden/light brown on the peaks and ridges, 4-5 minutes. Watch it carefully as it does not take long for it to burn. Let cool completely before serving, at least 30 minutes. Store at room temperature until ready to eat.