It might be heresy to admit at this time of year, but pumpkin pie isn’t really my thing. I make one every year, but it’s only out of a sense of duty. I’ve used canned pumpkin and I’ve roasted and pureed my own. I’ve spiced it up with ginger and with maple whipped cream and I’ve gone rogue and served pumpkin cheesecake instead. Pumpkin pie’s…okay.
The proprietress of my local coffee shop also happens to own the pie shop I mentioned the other day, and also happens to have written the Cutie Pies cookbook. So when she talked up her sweet potato pie recipe while making my latte the other day, I listened.
If you’re a sweet-potato-and-marshmallow-traditionalist, you’ll love the original recipe. But I couldn’t help tinkering as I went, and I divided the filling to make two smaller pies, omitting the marshmallows from this version (so it’s less sweet) and swirling a sugared cream cheese and yogurt drizzle on top instead. I liked both versions so much that I had a piece of each. Isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about?
Note: If you don’t have a deep 9″ pie plate, you will end up with extra filling. Consider baking it into hand pies by scooping a few Tbsp. filling into 6″ pie crust rounds. Brush the edge with egg and press with a fork to crimp and seal. Cut 2 or 3 slits in the top and bake alongside your pie until golden (20-30 minutes).
Sweet Potato Pie with a Cream Cheese Swirl (adapted from Cutie Pies): Peel 4 medium sweet potatoes and cut them into 1″ chunks. Boil until tender when pierced with a fork, about 10 minutes. While they’re cooking, mash together 1/4 c. softened cream cheese, 1/4 c. greek yogurt, and 1/4 c. powdered sugar. (If the cream cheese is lumpy, I try warming the mixture briefly in the microwave or pushing it through a sieve to break up the lumps–anyone have a better technique?) Set the cream cheese mixture aside and preheat your oven to 375.
Drain sweet potatoes well, then puree in a food processor. In a large bowl, whisk 3 eggs, then beat in 3/4 c. brown sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 2 Tbsp. melted butter, 1 Tbsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. salt, and a few pinches each of ground cloves and nutmeg (or use your own favorite
pumpkin sweet potato pie spices). Add the pureed sweet potatoes and stir to thoroughly combine. Roll out your favorite pie crust and line a deep pie dish, folding and pinching the edge into a fancy shape. Fill with the sweet potato filling. Dollop the cream cheese mixture on top and use a toothpick to create a swirl design.
Bake at 375 until the crust is golden and the filling has set.* It can be tricky to tell when the pie is done, but the center should no longer appear wobbly and a knife inserted midway between the crust and the pie’s center should come out moist but clean. This usually takes 50-60 minutes for a pumpkin pie, but since I made smaller pies I didn’t test the baking time for the full-sized sweet potato pie; I’d advise you to start checking it after 40 minutes.
*If the crust starts to darken before the middle is cooked, take a square of aluminum foil big enough to cover the pie and fold it in half. Tear a circle out of the center of the square about the right size to expose the middle of the pie but not the crust. Now you can fold the square over the pie, leaving the center uncovered while preventing the crust from overbaking.