Saturday, November 23, 2013

Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallow Meringue...and a Guest Post!

And we're only a few short days from Thanksgiving!  Time has flown by, and by now, I'm sure many of you have your Thanksgiving spreads all planned out. Maybe you're sticking to traditional recipes that you've been using for years, or maybe you're digging up an old family favorite that you haven't made in quite some time. Or maybe, you're like me and have been obsessively searching through every food magazine, online and in print, in search of a new recipe that can grow and become a new tradition (Thanksgiving dinner isn't even being held at my house, yet I feel a compulsion to do this).  While all these things are good and dandy (did I really just say that...?), I really hope you haven't done too much figuring out in the dessert department, because I have some great ideas for you that I'll be sharing in these last few days before the big holiday.  Hopefully you're still in the dessert planning stages or are willing to squeeze in an extra dish to your already planned dessert menu, because I've got some pretty awesome things planned!

First up, as you may have guessed, is a sweet potato pie with marshmallow meringue.  I'd never actually had sweet potato pie before making this one, so I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I figured I'd like it, because I loveeee anything with sweet potatoes, but I wasn't entirely sure.  You see, sweet potato pie happens to look a LOT like pumpkin pie, and I really, really, really just DO NOT care for the stuff at all, so I was a bit apprehensive, thinking that it might also taste like pumpkin pie.  Really.  People like me actually exist, as hard as it may be to believe for some.  I've shared a pumpkin pie recipe before on the site, but I'll be honest with you, I didn't even like that pie.  The only reason that pie made it onto the blog was because my sister, who is obsessed with pumpkin pie, was around to try it and said it was pretty darn delicious.  I personally couldn't see (or taste, rather) the deliciousness that she was talking about, but trusted her judgement enough to post the recipe anyway.  This sweet potato pie, though, was a completely different story.  

This is a sweet potato pie with a graham cracker crust and an enormous mound of creamy marshmallowy meringue piled on top, and lightly toasted in the oven.  It's basically the dessert version of your favorite marshmallow topped sweet potato casserole, but kicked up like ten notches, at least.  It's rich and certainly indulgent, and while it borders on the verge of dessert overkill, trust me, it's damn good, and Thanksgiving is one of the few times a year where I say it's perfectly ok to just eat what makes you happy.  However, if this mountain of sweet and sticky marshmallow meringue is still leaving you feeling a bit overwhelmed, I definitely suggest you head over to Skinnytaste and take a look at the mini sweet potato meringue pies that are being featured today!  I've mentioned before that my cousin Gina runs the ever popular Skinnytaste blog, and has been serving as a mentor in helping me figure out this crazy and constantly changing world of food blogging, a favor for which I owe her many thanks.  Last week she asked me to help her create a light and delicious dessert that would be appropriate for Thanksgiving, and I was certainly up to the challenge.  I ended up getting some really great results, and while I won't reveal the secret to creating a light sweet potato pie here (you'll have to head over to Gina's blog to find out my secret!), just know that pie crust AND a marshmallow topping all made it on to the skinny version of my pie.  Sounds crazy, but it's true, so check it out if you're in search of something light and simple.  If you have more time to get your hands dirty and are ready to be indulgent, then by all means, please keep reading here!

So anyway, back to this particular pie that's in front of us.  The very first thing I said as I tasted the pie while I was taking the final photos for this post was, "Holy crap this is SO much better than pumpkin pie."  I meant it. The second thing I said after swallowing several more mouthfuls of pie was, "GEEZ, why isn't THIS the traditional Thanksgiving pie!?"  This is a question that I am still asking myself, and will probably be asking myself for the rest of my life.  It just doesn't make sense to me.  Sweet potato pie seems infinitely better in comparison to pumpkin pie, and when paired with marshmallow meringue...goodness.  So many happy things were going on in my mouth.  The sweet potato filling has a milder flavor that pairs so nicely with the buttery graham cracker crust and the toasted marshmallow topping.  This is a pie I'm so happy to have finally gotten to experience, and it's wonderful to know that there is a really delicious alternative to the dreaded pumpkin pie (at least for me).  I know that all the non-pumpkin lovers out there are going to be thinking the same thing.  

This sweet potato pie is a perfect Thanksgiving option, not only because it's a traditional pie and is full of seasonal flavors, but because it's simple to make and can be made mostly in advance.  The crust can be made a day in advance, and while the crust is cooling, prepare the sweet potato filling.  Bake the pie, and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight to chill thoroughly.  On Thanksgiving day, simply whip up the meringue a half hour before you plan on serving the pie, and then place it in the oven to toast the meringue and get it golden brown, then let it cool and serve!  It can't get any simpler than that!  No pesky pie dough to roll out (more on this soon!) and since this pie actually tastes better the next day, in my opinion, it's a perfect option to lighten up the cooking load on the actual day of Thanksgiving.  Remember to check out my lighter version of sweet potato pie on Skinnytaste, and stay tuned for MORE pie goodness!  Enjoy!

Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallow Meringue
recipe from Bon Appétit


For the Crust 

7 1/2 ounces graham crackers, finely ground in food processor
3 tablespoons sugar
6 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling

2 1/2 - 3 pounds sweet potatoes
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

For the Meringue

7 oz marshmallow creme (I used marshmallow Fluff)
3 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar


Begin by preparing the crust.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and position a rack in the middle of the oven. Combine the graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and melted butter in a bowl, and mix with a fork until moistened. Press the crumb mixture onto the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish.  Use a drinking glass to make sure you have an even crust.  Bake the crust until it is just set and begins to brown, about 10 minutes.  Cool on a wire rack.

To prepare the filling,  begin by preparing the sweet potato puree.  Pierce the sweet potatoes all over with a knife or fork, and use the baked potato function on your microwave to cook the potatoes until they are soft and cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.  Once the potatoes become cool enough to handle, split the potatoes down the middle with a knife, and scoop out the flesh into a food processor.  Puree until smooth.  Set aside 2 cups of sweet potato puree for the pie filling, and reserve any remaining puree for another use. 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and position a rack in the middle of the oven.  In a bowl, combine the 2 cups of sweet potato puree, condensed milk, and the remaining ingredients, whisking until well blended and smooth.  Pour the filling into the pre-baked crust, and bake the pie until it is slightly puffed around the edges and set in the center, around 50 minutes.  Allow the pie to cool to room temperature on a wire rack, and then refrigerate overnight, or at least 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  To prepare the meringue, place the marshmallow creme in a large bowl.  In the bowl of a standard electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt together until foamy. Add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, to the egg whites and beat until stiff and glossy peaks form. Add about 1/2 cup of the beaten egg whites to the marshmallow creme, and fold in with a rubber spatula until just incorporated.  This will be difficult and very sticky at first, but will become easier as you fold in the egg whites.  Fold in the remaining egg whites in two additions.  Spread the meringue over the baked pie and mound it slightly in the center, using a spatula or knife to create swirls and peaks. 

Bake the pie until the peaks and swirls of the meringue are lightly browned, about 5-6 minutes. Keep an eye on the pie, because it could go from light golden brown to burnt very quickly!  Let the pie stand at room temperature until the meringue cools.  Cut into wedges, and serve.  Enjoy!

Makes 1 9-inch pie


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