A few weeks before Thanksgiving, I started to research what kind of pie to make for our Thanksgiving meal. Last year, the pumpkin pie was a winner, except that my sister doesn't really like the taste of pumpkin pie, so I had to find something new. When I saw a posting on Bon Appetit's facebook page about this pie, it looked too delicious to pass up. Each bite was a balanced mix of super-duper sweet (the meringue) AND Thanksgiving in your mouth (sweet potato mixed with cinnamon/nutmeg). HOM!
The picture on the recipe page is deceiving - this pie is actually pretty simple to make. I also find that graham cracker crusts are a lot easier to make than a traditional dough crust.
Yes, I definitely searched my mom's pantry for marshmallows and chocolate so I could make s'mores with the leftover crumbs! No luck.
Pressing the crust into the pan. Well, my crust ended up lopsided somehow, but it still tasted sugary and crunchy!
I couldn't stop licking the bowl. I have problems! This pie base also served as the inspiration for some experimental ice cream flavors.
Baked, and ready to be topped.
Meringue can be a pain to make, but this recipe had a little secret, using marshmallow fluff. Who knew? Apart from being very sticky, the marshmallow fluff was really easy to work with.
Perfection, in pie form! The finished product was light and airy on the top with a perfectly dense filling. I ate the leftovers for breakfast and lunch for the next two days. Something happened to my white balance settings and this is the best photo I got of my beloved pie. I am still drooling as I think about it now!
Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallow Meringue, recipe from Bon Appetit
Makes one 9" pie
For the Crust:
- 1 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs (about two of the bag inserts in a normal box of graham crackers)
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 6-7 tbsp. butter, melted
For the Filling:
- 3 pounds of sweet potatoes (we used red and normal)
- 1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. salt
For the Meringue Topping:
- 1 7-ounce jar of marshmallow cream (I used kraft jet-puffed marshmallow creme)
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/8 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup sugar
For the Crust:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If you haven't already, finely grind your graham crackers in your food processor. Mix the graham cracker crumbs and sugar in a medium bowl. Add 6 tablespoons melted butter and stir until the crumbs are moist (and feel kind of like wet sand). If the mixture is still dry, add in the extra 1 tablespoon of butter. Press the crumb mixture into your pie pan and build up about 1/4 inch above the rim of the pan. Bake until the crust is set, about 10 minutes or so. Cool on a rack. I did this about 2 days in advance and kept the crust covered at room temperature.
For the Filling:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pierce the sweet potatoes all over, and then place on a rimmed baking sheet (I lined mine with a silpat for easier clean up). Bake until the potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a fork, about an hour to an hour and fifteen minutes. Let the potatoes cool slightly, and then scoop the pulp out into a food processor, and puree until smooth. Set aside 2 cups of the puree for your filling (and use the rest to make, say, oh, I don't know, ice cream?). Let the filling cool completely. You can do this up to a day ahead.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine 2 cups of the puree, the sweetened condensed milk, and all remaining ingredients for the filling in a bowl. Whisk until well blended and smooth. Pour the filling into the crust. Bake the pie until it is puffed in the middle, about 50 minutes. We used the convection setting on our oven, which heats from all sides, not just the top, so my pie was complete in about 45 minutes. Transfer to a pie rack and cool. Refrigerate four hours or overnight.
For the Marshmallow Meringue:
Position a rack in the top third of the oven, and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Note, I mentioned we used the convection setting to bake the pie, if you have the option, switch back to the top heating baking. This is because you only want to cook the top part of the pie to get the slightly golden meringue topping.
Using a rubber spatula, empty the fluff into a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the egg whites and salt and beat until foamy. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form.
Add a 1/2 cup of the egg white mixture to your bowl with the fluff, and mix until incorporated (I used the same rubber spatula). Yes, it will be very sticky. Fold in the remainder of the whites in two batches until everything is just incorporated. I'm assuming this is one of those things that if you over beat it, it won't come out as nicely. Spread the meringue over the cooled pie, swirling to create peaks using a knife or rubber spatula.
Bake until the peaks and ridges of the meringue are just slightly browned, about 4 minutes. Let it stand at room temperature until cool.
If you have to transport this to someone else's house for the grand meal, I would say prepare the meringue topping part at your final destination, or, find a cake box or pie box you can safely transport it in. The topping will get smushed if you put something directly on top of it!