I love Thanksgiving. It is my absolute favorite holiday. I’m not sure what about it is the most wonderful to me; it is definitely a combination of awesomeness. Fall, all of my favorite foods – pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, stuffing – and it always falls at the perfect time of year. It’s far enough into the school year that you can see the light at the end of the fall semester tunnel, and the break is always long enough to go home, see friends, and do a bunch of things you’ve been putting off doing but it’s not long enough to make you feel bored or useless like I tend to do with other breaks. Plus, the day after Thanksgiving means setting up our Christmas tree, which is another one of my favorite things to do.
Thanksgiving can be a Paleo eater’s dream or nightmare, though. Personally, I didn’t feel bad munching on a few crackers with cheese before dinner, and I definitely didn’t feel bad scooping out a little bit of stuffing during dinner. Like I told my brother, if cavemen had stuffing, they definitely would have eaten it. (Listen, I had earned a little cheating and I also have no problem with moderation. My theory is that if you always deny yourself the things you love, once you let yourself have them again, you won’t stop until you’ve completely undone everything you’ve worked so hard for.)
My problem always comes with dessert. This is not just a Thanksgiving problem, but something that comes up with any meal shared with family. When Tim and I eat together, we never have dessert. Sometimes we munch on some fruit or a slice of super dark chocolate as we’re chatting at the dinner table, but I just don’t ever make desserts for us. I’ve never been a fan of sweets, so I really don’t miss it. However, when we are at large family gatherings, there is always dessert – sometimes three or four options. While I don’t ever really want the dessert, I have a hard time saying no. I know how much love and care goes into homemade confections, and I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by passing or, even worse, by not finishing what they’ve given me. I also hate being the girl that asks for just a sliver of pie or cake. No, I’m not pretending to be on a diet by only eating a tiny bit of this diet-killer. If I eat a lot of it, my stomach will revolt and the rest of my evening will not be fun, thank-you-very-much.
So, since I’ve started my Paleo journey, I’ve been offering to bring dessert more and more. Even though I hate baking. If there is one gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free option, the hours I’ve spent baking seem worth it. Plus, when people eat my concoctions and I tell them what’s not in it, they go bonkers. Who knew baked apples could be just as good as cake and not leave you in a sugar coma?!
Since pumpkin pie is my all-time fave, I wanted to make something similar but not too close because my mom’s pumpkin pie is amazing. In all honesty, I did eat some of that, too. Just for a side-by-side comparison, I swear. While this sweet potato pie didn’t come close to my mom’s pumpkin pie, it definitely did not suck, and I will definitely make it again.
This recipe is adapted from Ready Paleo, but I added a little sugar (hence “Paleo(ish)”) and some allspice because I like my pie to taste like pie, not like a side dish.
Paleo(ish) Sweet Potato Pie
For the crust:
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
pinch of sea salt
1/4 cup coconut oil melted
2 tbsp honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the filling:
2 cup sweet potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed.
1 tbsp coconut oil melted
2 large eggs
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup coconut milk (light or full fat)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 c honey
1 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
First, make the crust.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the dry ingredients (almond flour, pecans and salt) in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients (oil, honey and vanilla extract). Stir the wet ingredients into to the dry ingredients until completely combined. Using your fingers press the dough into a 9 1/2 inch pie pan. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Remove and set aside to cool. The crust will slip down while it is baking, so once you take it out of the oven and while it is still warm, use the back of a spoon with a little coconut oil on it to press it back up on the sides. Let cool completely before filing.
While the crust is cooling, prepare the filling.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl mix sweet potatoes and butter. Add in eggs and mix until fluffy. Meanwhile in a separate bowl, combine cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Combine coconut milk, apple cider vinegar and mixture of spices to the bowl containing the sweet potatoes. Mix until fully combined. Add honey and sugar to taste. (I tasted the batter a few times during this process so I could get just the right amount of sweetness.) Pour contents into prepared pie crust and bake for 10 minutes at 400 F, then reduce heat to 325 F and bake for 30-40 minutes or until set. The pie will be a little jiggly when you pull it out, but it will set as it cools.