FOOD-SWEETPOTATOPIE

Sweet potato pie with coconut crust makes a delicious substitute to pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving.

A press-in, gluten-free crust, a lightly seasoned filling and the option of a crunchy, ginger topping are just a few of the reasons you might like this easy pie.

The topping, by the way, can cover any cracks that may develop on the surface. To give the sweet potatoes a head start, you can toss them on the bottom rack of the oven while the crust bakes.

The sweet potatoes also can be baked, peeled and refrigerated several days in advance. The pie can be baked up to two days in advance; store without its garnish, cover and keep at room temperature.

Sweet Potato Pie With Macaroon Crust

For the crust:

1 cup sliced almonds (skin-on)

1⁄2 cup shredded sweetened coconut

4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

1⁄4 tsp. fine sea salt

For the filling:

2 medium sweet potatoes, poked a few times with a knife and each wrapped in aluminum foil (about 18 ounces total)

3⁄4 cup canned coconut milk (full fat; shaken well)

3 large eggs

3⁄4 cup light brown sugar

1⁄2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1⁄4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

1⁄4 tsp. fine sea salt

For the optional garnish:

Unsweetened flaked coconut

1⁄4 cup crystallized ginger, thinly sliced

For the crust: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the almonds, shredded coconut, melted butter and salt in a food processor; pulse just until evenly coated and incorporated; the mixture should be coarsely textured. Transfer to a 9-inch pie plate and press in evenly on the bottom and up the sides, to the rim’s edge. Bake (middle rack) for about 12 minutes, or just until golden (watch closely; the crust will darken further when the pie bakes). If desired, let cool.

For the filling: Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees. Roast the wrapped potatoes (middle rack) for a total of 45 minutes (about 10 minutes less if you gave them a head start), or until they feel soft.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Unwrap the potatoes and discard the skins. Place the sweet potato flesh in the food processor and pulse until smooth. Let them sit for a few minutes, then add the coconut milk, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt; puree until smooth. Pour into the cooled pie crust. Bake (middle rack) for about 45 minutes, or until the center of the pie is just set.

While the pie cools, make the optional topping: Toast the flaked coconut in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat for several minutes, until lightly browned in spots, shaking the pan to avoid scorching. Let cool, then toss together with the crystallized ginger in a bowl. Use the mixture to decoratively top the pie.