This Purple Sweet Potato Meringue Pie is what dreams are made of! Not only is it the most gorgeous color, but the contrast with the perfectly white meringue makes it a total showstopper. Be sure to carry this queen on a platter and strut her around the Thanksgiving table before diving in. Once you do cut a slice, carry that gorgeous cross section around loud and proud for round two.
Ok, now that we’ve covered the striking features, let’s talk FLAVOR. First, allow me to mention the addition of brown butter in the sweet potato filling which gives the pie a little something extra that you can’t quite put your finger on, but you KNOW it’s there. The brown sugar in the filling provides a rich caramel flavor and the addition of the warm spices make it feel like autumn in your mouth. Add on a pile of marshmallow-y meringue and wham bam thank you ma’am – a masterpiece! Flaky crust, thick sweet potato filling, topped with a soft, lusciously sweet cloud of meringue. The way the textural components come together gives you a little bit of everything you could ever want.
Purple Sweet Potatoes?
YES! Purple Sweet Potatoes, also known as an Okinawan Sweet Potatoes, have a beautiful purple flesh and brown skin. When purchasing, be careful not to be tricked by a purple-skinned sweet potato, which actually has a yellow/white flesh. You want brown skin and purple flesh! Most Asian markets carry Purple Sweet Potatoes, but I have also found them at Trader Joe’s from time to time. My suggestion would be to call ahead to a few stores to see if they carry them instead of going on a wild goose chase. If you can’t find purple sweet potatoes in your area, you can absolutely make this with normal sweet potatoes.
Purple Sweet Potatoes are much smaller and have a higher starch content than your standard orange sweet potato. Because of this, it’s best to cook them at a lower temperature for longer (350 F for about 1.5 hours) so you end up a with a soft, sweet flesh. If you cook them at a higher temperature, the flesh can remain tough and not soften appropriately.
- I’ve added videos of crimping the crust and making the meringue design just below the recipe box. Be sure to check them out! For a very detailed post on how to make the pie crust, follow my All-Butter Pie Crust post.
- You want to make sure you mash the sweet potatoes super well so you have as few lumps as possible. If you have a potato ricer, it’s best to use that. However, I tediously mashed mine on a plate with a fork and that worked totally fine!
- In my tests, the color came out differently each time, depending on how bright the flesh was in each potato. If yours is lacking a bit of color, simply add one to two tiny drops of purple food coloring to help her shine bright.
- Allow the pie to cool COMPLETELY before adding the meringue. If it’s not fully cool, the meringue will begin to melt and you’ll have a v sad topping. Womp.
- Don’t spread your meringue the whole way to the sides. You want that purple filling around the edge to act as a little teaser for what’s to come. The inside is much brighter, so the slice is really quite striking!
- To get the best meringue swoops, use the back of a spoon and gently twirl the mouth of the spoon into the meringue and pull up. This gives it great swoops and height. Take care not to flatten the meringue too much. Keep it in a bit of a cone shape where it’s higher in the middle. As you start your swoops, it will naturally begin to flatten a bit, but we want to keep as much height as possible (because #drama).
I truly feel that this Purple Sweet Potato Meringue Pie will be the talk of the dessert table at Thanksgiving this year. Even if these times don’t allow for a typical gathering, you should still make something beautiful! This is very high up on my all-time favorites list, and I know you will love it, too!
As a reminder, if you’re interested in more details on making the crust or meringue design, check out the videos posted directly after this recipe.
Purple Sweet Potato Meringue Pie
- Food processor or pastry cutter
- Stand mixer with paddle and whisk attachment, or handheld mixer
- 9 inch pie dish
- Pie weights or dried rice or beans
- Meat or candy thermometer
Flaky Pie Crust
- 3¼ cups all-purpose flour 390g
- 1 cup + 6 T unsalted butter cold (311g)
- 1 tsp salt
- ⅔ cup water with ice (150ml)
Sweet Potato Filling
- 1 cup purple sweet potato mashed (about 4-5 purple sweet potatoes)
- ½ cup unsalted butter browned (113g)
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream 119g
- ⅛ cup whole milk 76g
- ¾ cup light brown sugar 150g
- 2 large eggs beaten
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ginger
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- Egg whites from 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup granulated sugar 150g
- Pinch salt
- 1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
- Cut the butter into 1/2" cubes and place in the freezer. In a bowl, add the water and some ice cubes and set aside. Using a food processor, add the flour and salt to the bowl and pulse once to combile. Add the chilled butter evenly around the flour.
- Pulse the mixture until the butter reaches pea-sized pieces and looks crumbly. Add in the ⅔ cup ice cold water (not adding the ice cubes), and pulse again until the dough starts to form a ball (you want to still see butter chunks). If you don't have a stand mixer, use a pastry cutter or two sharp knives to cut the butter into the flour, then add the water and continue cutting until it comes together.
- Remove the dough, separate into two even pieces (weighing recommended), then flatten into one-inch discs and wrap each piece of dough in plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for 1-2 hours. You will only need one disc of dough for this recipe, feel free to freeze the other disc.
- Once properly chilled, remove from the fridge and wait about 15 minutes for the dough to slightly come to temperature. This will help you roll out your dough without it cracking. Lightly flour your rolling pin and work surface, then roll out one disc of dough until it’s about ⅛ inch thick and is at least 2 inches wider than your pie dish. Continue to lightly flour your surface if the dough begins to stick.
- Carefully transfer your dough to your pie dish, pressing it into place on the bottom and sides and trim and crimp the edges any way you’d like, then place into the freezer for 15 minutes. At this point, preheat your oven to 375 F.
- Remove from the freezer and dock the bottom of the dough all over with a fork. Line the pie with parchment paper or aluminum foil and completely fill with pie weights (or dried beans or rice, but do not use to eat afterwards). The weights should come the whole way to the top of the pie crust. Gently press down and into the sides so the weight is fully distributed.
- Bake the crust at 375 F for 20 minutes, then remove the pie weights and parchment and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Remove the pie from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Sweet Potato Filling
- Dock the top of the sweet potatoes with a fork then bake at 350 F for close to 1 ½ hours until very soft and tender. Baking purple sweet potatoes requires a lower temperature for longer to get soft, as they have a higher starch content.
- When the potatoes are almost done in the oven, make your brown butter. Over medium heat, add your ½ cup (113g) of unsalted butter into a saucepan and allow to melt and bubble. Swirl occasionally until you see that the milk solids on the bottom of the pan have started to become golden brown. It will also start to become incredibly fragrant and nutty. Be careful not to burn the butter, or else you’ll need to trash it and start again, but you definitely want it to get pretty brown. Once ready, pour the butter into a heat proof bowl and set aside.
- Remove the potatoes from the oven and allow them to cool a bit until you are able to handle them. Scoop all flesh out of the skins and using a potato ricer or a fork, mash the sweet potatoes until they are as smooth as you can get them.
- Once the potatoes are ready, combine the mashed sweet potatoes, browned butter, heavy cream, milk, brown sugar, beaten eggs, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt and vanilla into the bowl of a stand mixer and mix on medium low until everything is just combined.
- Pour the mixture into your cooled crust and smooth the top, if needed. Bake at 350 F for about 40 – 50 minutes until it’s set. You may need to add a ring of foil to the edges of your crust if they start to turn too brown. The pie will have a slight jiggle in the center, will look a bit puffy on the sides, but it will settle while cooling.
- Remove the pie to a wire rack to cool for 2 hours, then place in the fridge for 2 more hours before making the meringue topping. If you add the meringue before it is completely cool, it will melt and ooze off.
- Fill a saucepan with about 2 inches of water and turn to high heat. Add a heat proof bowl over top that fits securely. You don’t want any of the water touching the bottom of the bowl.
- To the bowl, add the egg whites, sugar, and salt and whisk to combine. Continue lightly whisking until the mixture is rather warm and the sugar granules have dissolved. Check this by rubbing your fingers together in the mixture. If you can still feel sugar granules, continue cooking. If you have a thermometer, cook it to around 150 – 160 F, or until you no longer feel the sugar granules.
- One the mixture is ready, add it to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip on medium speed for about a minute. Turn to high speed and whip until stiff peaks form and the meringue gets caught in the middle of the whisk. The peak of the meringue should stand up to a point when you pull the whisk out. Once the meringue hits stiff peaks, add the vanilla then mix on high speed once more to combine.
- Add all of the meringue to the center of the pie, and gently work it towards the edges, but allow some of the purple to stay visible. You also want to keep as much height as possible in the center, so don’t push down too hard. Using the back of a spoon, gently twirl the mouth into the meringue and pull up to make swoops and peaks. Using a blow torch, brown the meringue to your liking. You can also pop it into the oven under high broil to get a bit of browning, but a torch looks much better.