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The Handoff: Vegan Sweet Potato Pie

2011 November 22

It’s Thanksgiving week in America, the opening bell for the holiday season, the starting line for the mad dash of celebratory fever that will carry us through the New Year.  It is safe to say that Thanksgiving is a favorite feast day here at RecipeRelay, one we eagerly await every November.  Many of you may already have your Thanksgiving meal planned out, but for those of you who are looking for a final sweet touch, we offer up Kara Rota’s Vegan Sweet Potato Pie.    RecipeRelay will be celebrating too, and in honor of the holiday we’ll taking the rest of the week off.  However and wherever you are celebrating this Thursday, we hope you have a great one, see you next week!

Our warmest holiday wishes,

Sarah & Brianna

By Kara Rota

Leaves on the Upper West SideNew York, NY – While my mom and I were cooking together last week, we had a conversation that spanned Thanksgiving memories and the best substitutes for vegan baking. We talked about how vegan and raw food is generally better when it’s celebrating real, whole ingredients rather than trying to replicate dairy and meat products with highly-processed ingredients, like isolated soy protein. While shortcuts like vegan margarine (or just a pre-made vegan pie crust!) certainly help and make life significantly easier for new vegans (and I ate my fair share of them when I was vegan in high school), I attempted to use as many whole ingredients as possible in this recipe.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

At the 79th Street Greenmarket across the street from my apartment, I bought sweet potatoes from Kernan Farms in Cumberland County, NJ. I bought freshly made tofu from D&J Organic Farm in Yaphank, NY, which stands for David and Julie Yen. They also sell baby bok choy that I love to stir fry with broccoli, tamari and sesame oil, and kimchi made by a 76-year-old women from a recipe that has been in her family for generations.

Tofu works as a great stabilizer in vegan desserts as an alternative to the texture achieved by evaporated milk and eggs.  This pie crust uses coconut oil, skimmed from the top of a full-fat can of coconut milk in my pantry (some of which I later added to the pie filling). It turned on crunchy, almost cracker-y, in a way that was unique but not unappealing. I didn’t taste the coconut flavor in the finished product, but would definitely add sugar to the crust next time.

Vegan Sweet Potato Pie

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Yield: 8-10 servings


For the Pie Crust:

  • 1 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 Tablespoons ice-cold water
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans

For the Pie Filling:

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes
  • 1 1/2 blocks tofu (approximately 20 oz)
  • 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • cinnamon, ground clove, and nutmeg to taste
  • a pinch of salt

Cooking Directions

For the Pie Crust:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt.
  2. Add coconut oil and mix by hand or with a handheld pastry blender until crumbly.
  3. Sprinkle the water into the dough and mix gently, then form the dough into a ball.
  4. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
  5. Remove from the refrigerator once the filling is ready, and press into a deep-dish 9″ pie plate. Flute the edges, or make it as rustic or elegant as you like (I tend towards rustic, obviously.)
  6. Press the pecans into the bottom of the crust.

For the Pie Filling:

  1. Wash the sweet potatoes, stab each in several places with a fork, and bake at 400 degrees for an hour.
  2. Once the potatoes are fork-tender, remove them from the oven. Let them cool slightly, then peel off their jackets.
  3. Blend the potatoes in a food processor.
  4. Add the tofu, coconut milk and half of the honey.
  5. Add a tablespoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of nutmeg, and a pinch of clove and salt.
  6. Blend, then taste. Adjust spice to taste and add honey as desired.
  7. Pour the filling into the prepared pie crust and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.
  8. Serve chilled, with some vegan vanilla ice cream if you like!

Vegan Sweet Potato PieKara Rota is the editor of Cookstr and blogs on ingestibles.