There are a million types of pie, but my favorite is a simple sweet potato pie. I will never understand the pumpkin pie craze around Thanksgiving - to me, sweet potatoes have a much better flavor. A good sweet potato pie lets the natural sugars shine through, and only uses a bit of spices to enhance the flavor. I made this pie at Thanksgiving, and Mom requested another for Christmas. I was happy to oblige.
With tons of fresh Georgia pecans lying around the house, I decided to try out a pecan crust that I noticed over at Kalyn's Kitchen. It's SO easy, and I think I prefer it to standard pie crust. At Thanksgiving it came out perfectly, but did get a bit soggy in the middle this time. It was still delicious, though, and I'm guessing that it's because I used milk instead of half-and-half, and next time I'll go back to the thicker stuff or use a little bit less liquid. I really like the concept of this crust, and it allowed me to avoid spending lots of money stocking my parents' house with gluten-free flours. I imagine that it would be great with any nut, but I'll have a hard time straying from pecans.
Sweet potato pie with gluten-free pecan crust (filling adapted from Blue Ridge Baker and crust barely adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen)
1 Tbsp butter
1 cup pecans
2 extra large sweet potatoes (or 3 large ones)
1/4 cup honey
1 cup half-and-half or whole milk (I would reduce to 3/4 cup milk)
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
Rub the butter over the bottom and sides of a 9" pie pan. Pulse the pecans in a blender a few times until they make a pecan meal consistency (don't overdo it - you don't want to make pecan butter). Pour the meal into the pie pan and press down on the bottom and sides.
Bake the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet at 400 until very tender (60-80 min, depending on the size). Let the sweet potatoes cool until you can handle them, and then peel and mash them. Measure out 2 cups of sweet potato (a little bit more is ok), and combine it with the honey, half-and-half or milk, vanilla, and spices in a large bowl. Adjust the spices to your taste, and then stir in the eggs. Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake at 400 for 35-45 min, until it's set in the middle (jiggle the pan a little bit to check it). Let cool and serve room temperature, cold, or warm. Make sure to store leftover pie in the refrigerator. Serves 8-10.