Bourbon-spiced purple sweet potato pie

Sweet potatoes are in peak season in Fall and early Winter. I had never baked a pie before and wanted my first home-made, from scratch pie to be a sweet potato pie. I crowdsourced favorite sweet potato pie recipes from home bakers in my neighborhood and combined them into one. Adapted from Chris Kimball and Rose McGee’s sweet potato pie recipes, pie crust from Marcy Goldman and Chris Kimball. Give yourself about five hours total so you can slow-roast the sweet potatoes.

This recipe works best if you like heavily spiced pie and have patience and time to take it slow. Baking a pie from scratch is a labor of love!



2 pounds slow-roasted purple sweet potatoes (about 5 small to medium)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 large eggs, plus 2 yolks
1 cup (7 oz) granulated sugar
1.5 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger (or 1 teaspoon ground ginger)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons bourbon
1 cup evaporated milk
¼ (1.75 oz) cup brown sugar

pie crust

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups unsalted butter
1 ¼ teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup ice water

for the slow-roasted purple sweet potatoes:

  1. Set oven to 350F.
  2. Prick each sweet potato with a fork and wrap each tightly in foil. Place in oven for 2 hours. Let cool for 10 minutes.

for the pie crust:

Make this while the sweet potatoes roast. Makes enough dough for three 9-inch single-crust pies. Freeze what you won’t use as unflattened discs, wrapped first in parchment or wax paper and then in Ziplock bags.

  1. Place the flour in a large food processor or large bowl. Pulse the processor two or three times, one second each, or cut in the butter into large bowl until mixture is crumbly — a not so even mixture of little and larger lumps of flour covered fat. Remove mixture from processor.
  2. In a separate bowl, stir together sugar, salt, and lemon juice. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Drizzle in most of ice water. Using a fork or fingers, toss mixture together to moisten flour. Stir to make a soft mass and pat into a dough. Add remaining (or additional) ice water as required to make sure dough sticks together.
  3. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead very briefly into a smooth dough. Divide dough in three portions (for three single crusts) and wrap each section well by wrapping first in plastic wrap and then insert into a ziplock bag. Refrigerate the dough at least one hour or up to two days (or freeze). Dough freezes for 3–4 months.

for the pie filling:

  1. Set oven to 400F.
  2. Insert a small spoon between the skin and flesh of the sweet potato, and scoop the flesh into a medium bowl, discard the skin. Repeat for remaining sweet potatoes. You should have about 2 cups. While the sweet potatoes are still hot, add the butter and mash with a fork or wooden spoon; small lumps of potato should remain.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, blend sweet potatoes with granulated sugar. Beat in eggs. Blend in ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, bourbon, and vanilla extract, and mix well. Stir in milk.

baking the pie:

  1. Remove dough from refrigerator and roll out on generously floured (up to 1/4 cup) work surface to 12-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Roll dough loosely around rolling pin and unroll into pie plate, leaving at least 1-inch overhang on each side. Working around circumference, ease dough into plate by gently lifting edge of dough with one hand while pressing into plate bottom with other hand.
  2. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch beyond lip of pie plate. Fold overhang under itself; folded edge should be flush with edge of pie plate. Using thumb and forefinger, flute edge of dough.
  3. Sprinkle the bottom of the pie shell evenly with the brown sugar. Pour filling into pie shell. Place pie in oven. Immediately reduce heat to 350F and bake 60 minutes or until center of pie is firm. Remove from oven. Allow to cool at least 1 hour before eating and at least 2 hours before packaging.

Author of Seasonal, a newsletter that explores the Bay Area food system, one fruit and vegetable at a time:

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