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Posted on Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 6 a.m.

You will be thankful for this sweet potato pecan pie

By Jessica Webster


My new Thanksgiving tradition: sweet potato pecan pie topped with Chantilly cream.

Jessica Webster |

For most of my life, Thanksgiving has been about getting together with my extended family and eating what I considered traditional Thanksgiving foods: roasted turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and creamed onions. Dessert was always one apple pie and one pumpkin pie, topped with fresh whipped cream. This year we're heading down to Dallas to spend the holiday with my partner's family for the first time. I'm not entirely certain what to expect when we get there, so I thought I'd prepare by learning about my friends' Thanksgiving traditions.

My friend C.J. married into a family with both Chinese and Hispanic roots, so he's just as likely to have tamales and wonton soup as mashed potatoes and gravy for Thanksgiving. Charity's family always does a vegetarian potluck. Colleen always makes stuffed cabbage as a nod to her Hungarian heritage. My favorite tradition, though, comes from my childhood friend Gloria. She dresses as a pilgrim and invites all her friends over at 9 a.m. to do shots and drink cocktails.

I'm doubtful that our Dallas Thanksgiving will involve early morning cocktails. I'm not even sure we'll be eating turkey. We'll be sending a Zingerman's care package down in advance of our arrival so that we can be certain to at least have bread and cheese that we (and the picky eight-year-old) will enjoy. And to pay tribute to our southern destination, I'll be baking a sweet potato pecan pie.

This pie is remarkably easy, and incredibly tasty. I'm not a fan of overly-sweet desserts, so I normally avoid pecan pies. But this pie is a perfect blend of savory and sweet, and the Chantilly cream adds a very decadent element. I have found that the Pillsbury pie crusts available in the refrigerated section of the supermarket save a lot of time and taste as good as anything I've been able to make from scratch, but feel free to use your own favorite pie crust recipe if you prefer to make it yourself.

Sweet potato pecan pie, adapted from


* 1 (9-inch) pie crust
* 1 cup sweet potatoes, baked and mashed
* 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
* 2 large egg yolks
* 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
* 1 tablespoon whipping cream
* 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
* 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
* 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
* 1 cup pecans, chopped
* 1/2 cup pecans, halved
* 1/4 cup granulated sugar
* 2 large eggs
* 3/4 cup light corn syrup
* 1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


1. Preheat oven to 350°.

2. Combine sweet potato and next 4 ingredients in a large bowl. Add
1/2 teaspoon vanilla and next 3 ingredients; stir until smooth and
completely combined. Spread in an even layer in bottom of shell. Add
chopped pecans evenly over sweet potato mixture. Lay pecan halves flat
in a circle around perimeter.

3. Combine granulated sugar and 2 large eggs in a separate bowl; whisk
until well blended. Whisk in corn syrup, melted butter, and remaining
1 teaspoon vanilla. Pour mixture slowly over pecan layer. Do not
overfill. (You may have excess.)

4. Bake at 350° for 50 to 55 minutes or until pie is puffed, set, and
golden brown. Remove and let cool. Serve with Chantilly cream.

Makes 8 servings

Paul Prudhomme's Chantilly cream:

2/3 c. heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp brandy
1 tsp. Grand Marnier
1/4 c. sugar
2 tbsp sour cream

Refrigerate a medium-size bowl and beaters until very cold. Combine
cream, vanilla, brandy and Grand Marnier in the bowl and beat with
electric mixer on medium speed 1 minute. Add the sugar and sour cream
and beat on medium just until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Do not overbeat.

Makes about 2 cups.

Jessica Webster leads the Food & Drink section for the community team. You can reach her at

Of course no pecan pie recipe would be complete without this clip from "When Harry Met Sally."



Mon, Nov 29, 2010 : 12:08 a.m.

I made this pie today and it was delicious. However, I realized just as I was about to put it in the oven that I had forgotten to put in the spices. So I sprinkled some cinnamon on the top. In reading the recipe later, I realized that the instructions do not mention putting in the spices which is why I forgot them. Are they supposed to go in with the sweet potato mixture or the corn syrup mixture? I had to bypass the Grand Marnier in the Chantilly cream when I saw that a small bottle cost $39.99 at my local grocery. Good anyway.

lisa gottlieb

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 1:31 p.m.

This is such a good idea--the best of sweet potato and pecan pie all in one. I'm going to make this one for sure.

David Bardallis

Thu, Nov 18, 2010 : 11:51 a.m.

Jessica, you have gotten scary good at those food porn shots. Even stuff I might not normally want to eat looks so deliciously tempting!