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Eat Well Nov. 21. 2014
Desserts

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

Nov. 21. 2014
Desserts
McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie. My whole food version of pecan pie. I’ll let that soak in for a minute…

I’ll be the first to say, growing up in Ohio, my dad’s side of the family LOVED pecan pie. We’d always have it at both Thanksgiving and Christmas as far back as I can remember, yet I never liked it. Actually, I avoided it like the plague- the thought of eating pecans turned me off, but also visually it was full of neutral brown colors and it was not very appealing to the eye, let alone my stomach. Looking back now, I’m glad I didn’t make eating pecan pie a “thing” of mine, it’s loaded with refined sugars, hydrogenated fats and oils and in researching traditional pecan pies for this recipe and talking with my mom and family I realized one thing. Y’all, it’s literally a pie pan full of butter and sugar topped with pecans.

 

Picking on pecan pie. Now that I’m living in the south, in Nashville, pecan pie and sweet potato pie or casserole seem to be a staple dessert. I immediately was up for the challenge, to take something so notorious for being one of the highest in calorie and most refined (i.e. processed ingredients) desserts to grace tables, and make it into my whole food version. Oh, and gluten free and vegan taboot for all you wondering. The secret, not so secret, to making this filling creamy, sweet, and reminiscent of it’s traditional counterpart is using coconut oil, maple syrup, dates, sweet potatoes, and crushed pecans. All of these blended together with warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom create a filling that rivals…meh…beats traditional pecan pie. I might be talking a lot of smack here and being bold, but seriously you guys, this pie is ridiculously good with the addition of sweet potato.

This pie is also great to serve a crowd because a little slices goes a longgggg way. It’s incredibly rich, dense, and filling from all those healthy fats from both pecans, almonds, and coconut oil, and filling from the fiber found in the sweet potatoes, dates, and nuts/seeds used. Speaking of the nuts and seeds used, I wanted to expand beyond just using pecans for this pie and use hemp seeds for an easy way to add protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and an unbeatable texture to the crust. I used one of my new favorite brands of hemp seeds from the folks at Just Hemp Foods who were generous to sponsor this recipe I’m sharing. If you’re keen on learning more about hemp seeds and why I use them almost daily (!) read about them here.

Adding a baked sweet potato to the filling is an easy way to increase the volume without having to rely on adding more healthy yet high calorie add ons like dates, maple syrup, and crushed nuts. The mixture of maple syrup, dates, and coconut oil is a perfect way to bind all the ingredients together. An option for the filling for those of you who eat eggs, is to add in 1 egg white and simply bake the pie for an additional 30 minutes or until set firm. I wanted to present this recipe in a vegan form since so many of you all practice that lifestyle- I’m all about flexibility here so both of these options are suitable and make a great pie in the end!

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie
Recipe Type: dessert
Author: McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 16+
A healthy twist on a traditional high calorie pecan pie, made gluten free and vegan using hemp seeds as a filling and crust option. GF VGN
Ingredients
  • CRUST
  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 1 cup of rolled oat flour
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds (I used
  • 1/4 cup of raw honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 6 large medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • FILLING
  • 1 cup of pecans
  • 1 egg white (optional)
  • 1/4 of a cup of water
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 7 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 large (6 ounces) sweet potato, baked and mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • TOPPING
  • 1 cup pecans
  • dash of cinnamon
Instructions
  1. CRUST:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, pulse the almonds and hemp seeds to a ground texture (not as fine as a flour). Add oat flour.
  3. Slowly add in honey, dates, seasonings, and coconut oil. Mix until combined, you’ll be left with a sticky mixture.
  4. In a well greased (with coconut oil) baking pie dish, pour the crust mixture and evenly spread to coat the bottom, gently pressing to form the crust to the bottom and up the sides.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes or until just golden brown and nuts are fragrant. In the meantime…
  6. FILLING:
  7. In a high-speed blender or food processor, pulse pecans to get ground texture, follow with baked sweet potato (without skin), coconut oil, maple syrup, dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and water.
  8. The texture should be very thick, creamy, and sweet- adjust seasonings here to taste.
  9. ASSEMBLY:
  10. Take the hardened and baked pie crust out of the oven, pour the filling into the crust, and arrange whole pecans evenly on top, drizzle with remaining maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm. Enjoy warm!
Notes
VEGAN: to make completely vegan use maple syrup instead of honey and don’t use egg. The vegan version will be more dense and moist and is best served warm or right out of the fridge.

Make note. Just because this Pecan Pie is a much better option in terms of the ingredients- all are whole food ingredients – it still is calorically dense and way too easy to eat! Just be mindful of that and watch the portion 😉

Disclaimer: this is a sponsored recipe post with Just Hemp Foods, meaning I was compensated for this recipe and post, my opinions of this product and how it’s used are 100% of my own- I only share the best of the best that I truly enjoy and would find beneficial to you all as well! Find out more about Just Hemp foods on their website and Facebook

I hope you all love this one as much as I do and I’m so grateful for those of you making my recipes to share with your family, there’s nothing more I completely geek out over than seeing pictures that you all take of those scenes. Enjoy this one… not that I really need to “tell” you to, it’s ridiculously good. Show me when you make yours! #NutritionStripped

xo McKel

The Recipe

Serves 16+

Print

Ingredients:

  • CRUST
  • 1 cup of almonds
  • 1 cup of rolled oat flour
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds (I used
  • 1/4 cup of raw honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 6 large medjool dates, pitted
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • FILLING
  • 1 cup of pecans
  • 1 egg white (optional)
  • 1/4 of a cup of water
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 7 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 large (6 ounces) sweet potato, baked and mashed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • TOPPING
  • 1 cup pecans
  • dash of cinnamon

Directions:

  1. CRUST:
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor, pulse the almonds and hemp seeds to a ground texture (not as fine as a flour). Add oat flour.
  3. Slowly add in honey, dates, seasonings, and coconut oil. Mix until combined, you’ll be left with a sticky mixture.
  4. In a well greased (with coconut oil) baking pie dish, pour the crust mixture and evenly spread to coat the bottom, gently pressing to form the crust to the bottom and up the sides.
  5. Bake for 5 minutes or until just golden brown and nuts are fragrant. In the meantime…
  6. FILLING:
  7. In a high-speed blender or food processor, pulse pecans to get ground texture, follow with baked sweet potato (without skin), coconut oil, maple syrup, dates, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and water.
  8. The texture should be very thick, creamy, and sweet- adjust seasonings here to taste.
  9. ASSEMBLY:
  10. Take the hardened and baked pie crust out of the oven, pour the filling into the crust, and arrange whole pecans evenly on top, drizzle with remaining maple syrup and a dash of cinnamon.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until firm. Enjoy warm!

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