Bacon Crusted Sweet Potato Pie

The "Texas Food Woman" and voice of True Texas Cuisine Dotty Griffith was kind enough to share this with us. What a perfect Texas Twist on a Southern favorite, and it's true - everything is better with bacon!

Dotty shared this with us:

On the theory that everything goes better with bacon, why not add some to a pie crust?
 The inspiration for this recipe came from Sarah Snow, pastry chef at The Grape. She shared her grandmother’s recipe for pie crust using bacon drippings. That made me want to add some crumbled bacon to her recipe. My version is filled with sweet potato. Garnish this bacon-y beauty with—what else? -- whipped cream.
This could revolutionize your notion of pie crust. Be advised, this doesn’t produce a classic flaky crust. It’s a little rough around the edges but darn good.
Try it for Thanksgiving. For other great holiday recipes – Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s – check out the second edition of my Texas Holiday Cookbook.

INGREDIENTS

Bacon Crust:
4 slices crisp bacon, crumbled (reserve drippings)
1 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold bacon grease
5 tablespoons cold butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
3 tablespoons cold water or as needed
*Reserve drippings from bacon and refrigerate until solid. Four slices bacon yields about 3 tablespoons bacon grease.

Sweet Potato Filling:
1 (29-ounce can) drained sweet potatoes, mashed to make 2 cups
2 eggs, well beaten
½ cup milk
¼ cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt

DIRECTIONS

    Line the bottom of a large mixing bowl with plastic wrap, leaving plenty of overlap. Set aside.
In work bowl of food processor, combine crumbled crisp bacon, flour, sugar, and salt. Pulse until bacon is evenly incorporated with dry ingredients.  
Add the bacon grease and pulse to combine. The dough will look like moist sand. Add butter and pulse several times until dough clusters in small, pea-sized pieces.
    Sprinkle the water over the mixture. Process briefly just until dough holds together. If needed, add an additional drop or two of water. Do not over process.
Empty dough into prepared mixing bowl. Gently press the dough with a large spoon, rubber spatula or the palm of your hand just until it holds together. Shape the dough into a disk.
Grasping edges of plastic wrap, lift disk out of bowl and wrap tightly with edges of plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, preferably overnight. If refrigerated overnight, remove dough for 30 minutes before rolling, to soften slightly, just enough to shape and roll.
    To shape crust, unwrap plastic but leave dough disk in the center of the plastic wrap. Roll or pat dough into a thin round crust, roughly 13 inches in diameter. Lift with the edges of plastic and carefully transfer crust to line a 9-inch pie dish or pan. Trim edges of crust to top of pie pan. Crimp or decorate edges as desired. Freeze the formed shell for 30 minutes before filling and baking.
Meanwhile, prepare sweet potato filling.

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a 9-inch pie pan with Bacon Crust (see above).
In a medium bowl, combine mashed sweet potatoes, eggs, milk, and butter. Mix until smooth with electric beaters or whisk. Stir in sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and salt, mixing until sugar is dissolved. Pour into chilled pie shell. Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until the tip of a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.
Garnish as desired with whipped cream.
Makes 8 servings.