Yield: two 9-inch pies
- 3 c. all-purpose flour
- 1 c. shortening
- 3/4 c. ice cold water
- 2 c. pecans, shelled
- 1 c. bourbon whiskey
- 2 1/2 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces (about 3 1/2 cups cooked)
- 1 c. water (enough to measure 1/4-inch in bottom of baking pan, to provide steam)
- 3 each large eggs, cracked and lightly beaten
- 1 1/4 c. light brown sugar
- 1/4 c. light corn syrup
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 c. heavy cream
- Place the flour and shortening into a large bowl. Flake the shortening into the flour until it becomes very small pieces.
- Add the cold water by pouring it over the entire mass of flour and shortening. Using your hands, mix very gently until the water becomes absorbed. It will still be lightly crumbly. Without overworking the dough, round it up with your hands, trying to eliminate all the loose pieces and crumbs. Let it rest, covered, for 15 minutes.
- Cut the dough into 2 pieces. Using some flour, lightly coat your work surface with flour and coat your rolling pin with flour. Shape the piece of dough you have cut into a round, thick piece. Gently roll out the dough, turning 1/8 turn after each pin pass. (This will let it become naturally round in shape.) Continue rolling until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick, and the dough is one inch larger than the size of the pie pan you are using (use the pan to measure by laying it over the rolled out dough). Fold the dough in half, pick it up and lay it in the pan and unfold the dough. Crimp the edge using your thumb and forefinger, and trim off any extra dough hanging outside the pie pan.
- Preheat your oven to 375°F. Prick the dough in the pie tin on the bottom and on the sides with a fork. Place on the crust a piece of aluminum foil that covers the dough, and pour in raw rice or dry beans. (The weight will keep the dough from puffing too much while it is pre-baking.) This crust should be pre-baked in a 375°F oven for 10 minutes, the dough becoming lighter in color on the edges and set to the touch in the center. Cool and store the pie crust until you are ready to use it.
- Combine the bourbon and the pecans and let them soak overnight in the refrigerator.
- Put the potatoes and the water into a baking dish (13 x 9-inch) and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 375°F for about 45 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Remove from the oven, drain off the water, and allow the potatoes to cool for 10 minutes.
- Place the cooled potatoes into a large mixing bowl and add the eggs, sugar, corn syrup, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Mix until well-combined. Add the heavy cream a little at a time, mixing until well-combined, scraping down the mixing bowl after each second addition. After all the cream is added, mix one minute until the potato filling is well-combined. (Sweet potatoes have a coarse texture to them, so there will be some very small lumps that give the filling a textured look.)
- Remove the pecans from the bourbon and sprinkle them evenly on top of the pie filling.
- Pour the filling into the pre-baked pie shells and bake at 375°F for about 45 minutes. The pies are done when the filling puffs and the tops become lightly browned, and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Cool or chill and serve with some whipped heavy cream. (The bourbon from the soaked pecans can be added to some pre-made vanilla pudding along with some heavy cream. This thinned pudding can be used as a sauce for the pie.)