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Sweet potato pie with pecan streusel

Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 8
Sweet potato pie with pecan streusel
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)
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I substitute sweet potatoes for pumpkin in this pie devised by the late Southern chef Bill Neal. It is worlds away from the recipe on the Libby’s label, and not just because it’s topped with pecan streusel. The filling is airy but intense.

From the story: To the Table and be Slow About It

1

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

2

Cream 1 cup (2 sticks) of the butter with three-fourths cup brown sugar until light. Beat in the sweet potatoes, then the egg yolks and cream. Add the salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves and mix well. Beat in the bourbon.

3

In a separate clean bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Add one-quarter of the whites to the sweet potato mixture and stir in well. Gently fold in the remaining whites. Pour into the pie crust.

4

Combine the remaining butter, the remaining one-fourth cup brown sugar, flour and pecans and beat until well mixed. Crumble the mixture evenly over the top of the filled pie.

5

Bake in the center of the oven until the top is golden brown and the filling is set, about 40 minutes. Cool completely before cutting.

Adapted from “Bill Neal’s Southern Cooking” (University of North Carolina Press, 1985).