Light, sweet, and delicate, this sweet potato chiffon pie levels up your Thanksgiving Day menu. Roasting the sweet potatoes gives them a richer flavor, and an Italian meringue adds beautiful, silky volume while stabilizing the pie.
Suprrise! I’m uploading on a Saturday!
There are so many pumpkin pie recipes. So. Many.
And there are plenty of sweet potato pie recipes. Of course, I have mine here, and it’s a recipe that’s been passed down for generations.
And while researching, I saw a ton of pumpkin chiffon pies. A buttload. But no sweet potato chiffon pies.
Even though sweet potato pie is already pretty light (compared to pumpkin pie) why not bring a bit more elegance and make it a little modern? I mean, can you blame me? Look at the tender fluffy airiness of that slice up there! So good!
Don’t mind my pie crust decorating skills, I actually started having an allergy attack while preparing the pie! I pushed through (I talked about it a bit on my IG stories) enough to get this pie into the fridge to set before taking some benadryl and falling asleep until the next morning. Seriously! I don’t know what happened, but it was some mess!
But while my crimps leave something to be desired, the pie itself does not. I love the taste of sweet potato pie: the spices, the sweetness from the caramelization in the roasted sweet potato, but when you add the Italian meringue: a fluffy egg white meringue that’s stabilized with hot a hot sugar syrup, the lift and the sort of delicate airy feel of it makes the pie so special
I promise, as long as you have a candy thermometer (which are super affordable! Here’s the one I use) making Italian meringue is so, so easy and nothing to fret about.
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Okay, so the roasted sweet potato is pureed in a food processor or high powered blender with a homemade custard, so it’s smooth and creamy, then mixed with bloomed unflavored gelatin. While the meringue is stabilized, the gelatin adds some insurance so the pie sets nicely while chilling and thickens up the pie filling a little. Unflavored gelatin is usually in the same area you would find flavored gelatin. The most popular brand is Knox Unflavored Gelatin and that is what I used here.
Then gently fold in the meringue, making sure there’s no streaks of white, and everything is homogeneous.
Then you bake your pie crust in the oven by itself.
Pie crust is pretty easy to make, it’s really a matter of having enough ice water to create the right texture. Use around 1/2 cup, maybe a little more or less depending on how dry your environment is. I used frozen butter and leaf lard (yes, leaf lard! You can substitute shortening, but I love the flavor that lard brings as well as the tender, flakiness it brings to a crust versus an all-butter crust, because it’s melting point is so high.) and used this pastry cutter, my absolute fave. You want a reliable pastry cutter, not only do they make breaking up the fat into the flour a breeze, but a cheap one will not hold up to cutting up frozen butter. And you don’t want a pastry cutter busting open, smacking you in the face with wire and plastic and throwing flour in your eyes (ask me how I know).
Cool your pie crust after baking, fill, set in fridge for at least 8 hours. You now have a delicious and fancy sweet potato chiffon pie to impress your family and friends. Bask in the oohs and ahhs, revel in the light, fluffy texture of each slice, be elated by the taste of nostalgic sweet potato pie.
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- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, frozen and cubed
- 3/4 cup vegetable shortening or leaf lard, chilled
- 1/2 cup ice water
- 4 medium sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
- 4 eggs, separated
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar, separated
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- Whipped Cream, optional
- Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl with the pastry cutter. Add the butter and lard/shortening.
- Cut the butter and shortening into the mixture using the pastry cutter (or using a fork and butter knife) until it has pea-sized bits with a few larger bits of fat is OK). A pastry cutter makes this step very easy and quick.
- Measure 1/2 cup of water in a cup. Add ice. Drizzle the cold water in, 1 tbsp at a time, and stir with a rubber spatula after every spoonful is added. Do not add any more water than you need to. Stop adding water when the dough begins to form large clumps and there's very little excess flour in the bowl.
- Transfer the pie dough to a floured work surface. The dough should come together easily and should not feel overly sticky. Using floured hands, fold the dough into itself until the flour is fully incorporated into the fats. Form it into a ball. Divide dough in half. Flatten each half into 1-inch thick discs using your hands.
- Wrap each tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 and 1/2 hours before using (can be saved for 3-5 in fridge).
To bake crust:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Roll out pie dough until 1/4 inch thick and lay over a 9 inch pie dish. Remove excess and crimp the edges as you like. Prick the middle of the dough (where the filling will be) and place a piece of parchment paper over the dough. Put dried beans or pie pearls on the parchment and blind bake for ten minutes. Remove the parchment and beans/pearls from the pie crust and bake for 15 minutes to fully bake the crust through. Let cool before adding filling.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Poke sweet potatoes with a fork all over and roast in oven on a baking sheet for 45 minutes-1 hour. Let cool until cool enough to touch, then run through a potato ricer, a food mill, or a high powered blender/food processor to remove strings and make smooth. Put into a large bowl and set aside.
- In a small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over 1/4 cup of water and let stand until bloomed, about 3 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the half and half in a small saucepan until it starts to bubble around the edges. Turn heat off and cover the pan with a lid.
- In a medium heatproof bowl (I suggest a pyrex bowl), beat the egg yolks with a whisk until they thicken slightly, for about a minute or two. Add 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar and beat until very thick, about 3 minutes. Gradually beat in the warmed half-and-half until well combined.
- Fill the now-empty saucepan with 1 inch of water and bring to a simmer. Set the bowl with the egg yolk-half and half mixture over the simmering water and whisk constantly until thickened, about 6-8 minutes.
- Add the gelatin to your thickened custard and cook for 1 minute, whisking well to dissolve the gelatin. Remove the bowl from the pan.
- Stir the custard into the bowl of sweet potatoes. Add 1 tbsp of vanilla, the spices and the salt and mix until well incorporated. Set aside.
- In a clean sauce pan, pour in 1/2 cup water and 1 cup granulated sugar. Heat over high heat, and using a candy thermometer, let boil until the syrup is 240 degrees F.
- While the syrup is boiling, place egg whites and cream of tartar in the large bowl of a stand mixer with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg whites on medium speed until they are fluffy and have soft peaks (when the whisk is lifted the peaks come up and fall gently back onto themselves. The whites will still look a little foamy, not glossy.)
- When syrup is at 240 degrees F, while mixer is moving at high speed, pour the hot syrup in. Keep the mixer on high speed until the meringue is glossy, white, and has stiff peaks.
- Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the sweet potato-custard mixture until no streaks remain.
- Pour the filling into the pie crust and refrigerate the pie until very cold and firm, at least 8 hours.
- Decorate with whipped cream or serve without.
Buying a pre-made pie crust or making a graham cracker crust cuts down on the time and steps.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 312
Eden Westbrook is the recipe developer, writer, and photographer behind Sweet Tea and Thyme. A classically trained chef, Eden has inspired home cooks into the kitchen with cultural comfort foods, easy family-friendly eats and sweets, and glorious spreads for date night and entertaining since 2015.