Week Three: Rainbow Week
A few years back, the phrase “sweet potato pie” would’ve made me pull a face and retch theatrically. I became a sweet potato fan in my mid-twenties after side-eying them dubiously for much of my life. (That ol’ sweet-when-it-should-be-savory distaste again!) But after going vegan and encouraging myself to try foods I thought I didn’t care for, I found that with the proper preparation, even previously off-limits ingredients like squash and sweet potatoes could be — shocker — quite enjoyable.
So today I’m bringing a beautiful toasty orange color into rainbow week with a creamy sweet potato pie ensconced in a nutty pecan crust. Sweetened by dates and maple syrup, this pie elevates the humble sweet potato to Thanksgiving dessert status. If time isn’t on your side or you’ve got someone with a nut allergy at the table, feel free to substitute your favorite regular ol’ pie crust. (And pardon my cake tin in the photos below — I didn’t have a “real” pie pan when I first developed this recipe!)
This pie comes together surprisingly easily after you’ve measured out the ingredients and pitted the dates. You actually won’t need any mixing bowls: the crust ingredients are whizzed up in the food processor, while the pie filling gets combined right in your blender. The hardest part is probably waiting for it to cool! But make sure you do; you want it to solidify so it cuts well and doesn’t melt onto your plate.
Bonus: Assuming your oats and cornstarch are certified gluten-free, you’re on your way towards making a beautiful vegan, gluten-free sweet potato pie sure to please everyone.
Sweet Potato Pie in a Pecan-Date Crust
For the crust
- 1 cup pitted medjool dates (about 16 dates)
- 1/4 cup pecans
- 1/4 cup rolled oats
- 1 T coconut oil (solid)
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the pie
- 2 cups sweet potato, baked and mashed (measure after baking)
- 1/3 cup aquafaba
- 4 medjool dates, pitted
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 T coconut oil
- 2 T cornstarch
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 – 1 tsp ginger (depending on how much of a kick you like)
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Dash cloves
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
First, make the crust. Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until crumbly. The mixture should hold together if you scoop it into a ball and press it between your hands; add a few more pecans if it’s too soft. Prepare a pie pan by spraying liberally with oil, then use your hands to press the crust into the pan, pushing it up the sides by 1/2″ to 3/4″.
Next, prepare the filling by blending all ingredients in a high-speed blender. (A regular one will likely work, but I’d recommend soaking the dates first.) Pour filling into the crust and use a spatula to spread evenly.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the top is set. Chill for at least three hours before serving.
- If maple syrup breaks the budget, feel free to substitute agave nectar instead. Brown sugar would also likely work, though I haven’t tried it.
- I recommend baking the potatoes a day in advance to save time. Just put them in the oven alongside anything else you’re cooking, then on the day you make the pie, they’ll be cool and easy to pop out of the skins. Baking is crucial to get a really caramelized, sweet flavor; don’t try to steam the sweet potatoes as a shortcut!
- I got the idea to use aquafaba from another blogger who made a pumpkin pie using it, but I can’t recall who it is. Thanks for the tip!
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