End your Thanksgiving feast with this light and silky bourbon-spiked sweet potato pie baked in a classic graham cracker crust and topped with a big dollop of brown sugar whipped cream.
Whatever your Thanksgiving plans, I hope your holiday is filled with brightness and love. If you have a minute, give what you can to a charity doing good work. I’ll be donating to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank to help the food insecure in my community and to the IRC, who is operating on the ground in Yemen.
Like many of you, I spent the weekend immersed in Thanksgiving cleaning and prepping. If all goes well, I’ll make my turkey stock and and cranberry sauces today (regular sauce and this relish because it is the best). Tomorrow, I’ll roast a sugar pumpkin and a kabocha squash for my pumpkin pies. I’ll make pie dough and tuck it in the back of the fridge, right by the dry-brined heritage breed turkey. And then I’ll do a million other little things to get ready for the feast.
Even with an excellent prep game, we’ll probably sit down later than expected to food that’s not quite as hot as I wanted. There will be some kind of disaster. The turkey will take too long or the cranberry sauce will be forgotten in the fridge. And it will all be ok. Because as much as I want to be a perfect host or have my shit together, I’m not and I don’t. I’ll be cooking my fourteenth Thanksgiving meal this year and will still be figuring it out as I go. If you’re making your first or thirtieth Thanksgiving dinner, know that I’m right there alongside you being imperfect and just doing my best.
While orchestrating the meal itself remains daunting, dessert is all easy splendor. I’m lucky enough to have a Thanksgiving guest who makes a perfect apple pie (high praise coming from this apple pie champ), leaving me free to focus on my beloved pumpkin pie. This year, though, pumpkin has a little competition from this silky sweet potato pie with just a hint of bourbon. The pie begins with roasted sweet potatoes processed to a buttery puree and swirled into a mixture of eggs, cream, butter, brown sugar, bourbon, and spices. The filling is baked up in a lightly sweet graham cracker crust and topped off with a big dollop of brown sugar whipped cream. It’s the kind of airy custard pie that just holds its shape before melting in your mouth.
Though the crust gets a little damp, this pie is especially delicious just out of the fridge.
- 3 medium sweet potatoes, about 2 pounds
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 10 graham crackers
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Pinch sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Working ahead of time, roast the sweet potatoes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Poke sweet potatoes all over with the tines of a fork and wrap tightly with foil. Set in a baking dish and roast 60 - 70 minutes, or until sweet potatoes are soft and yielding. Set aside to cool. Sweet potatoes can be roasted ahead of time and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch pie pan and set aside.
To make the crust, pulse to reduce graham crackers in the bowl of a food processor. Add sugar and sea salt and pulse to combine. Drizzle in butter and pulse 2 - 3 times. Using a flat-bottomed glass or measuring cup, press graham mixture into pie pan, keeping the crust at an even thickness. Gently set on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Wipe food processor clean. Trim fibrous ends from cooked sweet potatoes and discard. Cut sweet potatoes down the middle and scoop out the soft flesh, leaving skin behind. Set sweet potato flesh in food processor and process until smooth, stopping to wipe down sides as needed.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine eggs, cream, brown sugar, spices and sea salt. Fold in sweet potato puree, vanilla, and bourbon. Lastly, drizzle in the butter and stir until combine. Spoon filling into pre-baked crust. Smooth out the top as best you can. Bake until a stainless knife inserted in the center comes out with just a few streaks, 60 - 70 minutes.
Set on a wire rack and cool 3 hours or more. Once cool, pie can be loosely covered and refrigerated several hours or overnight.
To serve, combine cream, brown sugar, and sea salt, and whip to soft peaks. Serve pie with whipped cream and a pinch of nutmeg.