A Paleo Thanksgiving dessert recipe that is SO delicious! Using leaf lard makes this gluten-free dessert heavenly. Flaky and delicious, a sweet potato tart is unique and is a refreshing change from pumpkin pie (could be a Christmas dessert as well!)
I've always loved the idea of a grandmother lovingly baking her family a pie made with lard she got from a neighboring farmer.
This idyllic scene was something I've never experienced though. My mother's mom wasn't much the homemaking type, at least by the time I was born, and unfortunately, she died when I was pretty young, and then my dad's mom was of Polish/German decent so it was more about kielbasa and pickles with her than a delicious flaky dessert.
But alas, I still love the idea.
It wasn't until I actually tasted a pie crust made with lard that I really grew jealous of those who actually HAD grandmothers who made the above scene come true!
In all of my culinary training (meaning, taking some classes at the local culinary school), we've used butter in our pies. And all my Ina Garten/Martha Stewart followings also included butter-based pastries. And don't get me wrong, butter pie crust is awesome.
But using lard? That's just a whole ‘nother realm.
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Leaf Lard Makes Flaky Crusts
So… when David from Fatworks handed me a jar of their free-range, pasture-raised Leaf Lard and asked me if I wanted to make a recipe with it. I said “sure!”. Thinking of flaky, delicious pie crusts.
Why flaky? According to this article from Serious Eats:
“Lard produces flakier crusts than butter. Butter begins to melt into the dough at a lower temperature; even the small amount of water present in butter may cause the dough particles to stick to one another rather than separate into the discrete layers that constitute a flaky pastry”
Plus, it's just plain easier to work with. Butter isn't difficult per say, but to make the crusts really flaky you have to keep it super cold, which usually means cutting, then freezing, then mixing, then cooling the dough again. It's just fussy. Lard, on the other hand, is so much less maintenance – and for an even flakier result in the end.
Sweet Potato Pie vs Pumpkin Pie
When I was a kid, pumpkin pie was my most favorite pie. But in recent years I've had pumpkin pie and felt it lacked something. Not sure exactly what it as, but it was sort of bland. I love pumpkin pie-spiced everything, but pumpkin pie just wasn't my fave anymore.
When I had a sweet potato pie/tart though, that rocked my world. It had a depth of flavor that is just amazing. Think I have officially switched the favorite pie status to sweet potato.
Naturally, I had to come up with a gluten-free, Paleo version that I could actually eat. This is my result.
This tart can be made into a pie, but it's also hearty enough to stand on its own when you make it in a tart shell, so you can go either way.
Due to the lard, the crust is flaky and flavorful plus you'll be getting a healthy dose of Vitamin D. So healthy to boot! (How's that for justification to eat dessert?)
The Perfect Paleo Holiday Dessert Recipe
This sweet potato tart is the perfect dessert for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any other holiday really. You can make it up to 3 days ahead of time, which is great for getting it done and over with before worrying about the actual meal.
Store in the fridge and reheat if you make it that far ahead, or you can keep it out at room temp if you make it just the day before or the day of.
It does take a bit of time to make it all (not a ton of hands-on time, just a lot of baking time), so definitely make it earlier in the day if making it on Thanksgiving itself.
And DO NOT skip the pie weights/dried beans part. Otherwise, you will have a puff pastry and not a tart crust. This crust wants to rise like no one's biz. That's part of what makes it so flaky and delicious, but you need a basin in which to pour your delicious sweet potato filling, and you won't get it if you don't do the pie weight part. Get pie weights on Amazon, or at Target, Wal-mart, or Bed Bath & Beyond if you don't have them.
How to Cut Out the Aluminum Foil
Also just a quick note: In the recipe below you'll see the first steps refer to cutting out a piece of aluminum foil. This is to help first prevent the pie from rising too much and then to help prevent the crust from burning. See the pictures below for reference when reading the recipe.
I hope you enjoy the tart!
You May Need:
Paleo Sweet Potato Tart RecipePrint
Using leaf lard makes this gluten-free and Paleo dessert heavenly. Flaky and delicious, a sweet potato tart is unique and is a refreshing change from pumpkin pie (Thanksgiving or Christmas dessert perhaps?)
For the tart shell:
- 1/2 cup Fatworks Leaf Lard
- 1 Egg
- 1/4 cup Coconut Sugar
- 1/4 tsp Baking Soda
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- 1.25 cups Almond Flour
- 1/2 cup Tapioca Flour + a few more tablespoons (see directions below)
- 1 large Sweet Potato (at least 1 lb)
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup Maple Syrup
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground Ginger
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1 cup Coconut Milk (or other dairy-free milk of choice)
- As shown above, take a 12-14 inch-long piece of aluminum foil and trace a circle around the removable circular tart pan bottom. Then trace a circle approx 1-2 inches larger around that. Cut these circles out – you should have one that looks just like the tart pan bottom (a circle), and one large donut. Set these aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- In a food processor, mix the egg and lard together.
- Add coconut sugar and mix again, scraping down the sides if needed.
- Add flours, salt, and baking soda and then mix again.
- At this point, remove the lid of the food processor and feel the dough. If it’s super sticky you’ll need to keep adding 1 tbs of Tapioca flour at a time and then mixing until you can touch the dough and feel like you could spread it in a pan without it getting stuck to your fingers. It usually takes me about 3 tbs to get there, but this depends on the size of the egg you used, etc.
- Transfer the dough to your tart pan and using your fingers, press the dough evenly all around the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, poke the sweet potato with a fork a few times and then stick it into the oven. It’ll need to roast for about 1 hr or until soft.
- Now taking that circular piece of aluminum foil you cut in step 1, put it on the bottom of your tart shell. Then fill the tart shell with pie weights or dried beans. This step is important because the dough will just puff up and be unusable for a tart/pie if you don’t keep it reigned in during the initial cooking stage. I recommend that if you are making a tart with a removable bottom that you put the whole thing on a baking sheet or else you risk punching the removable bottom up through the tart when taking it in and out of the oven. Ask me how I know. Just make your life easier – put it on a baking sheet and keep it on there the whole time. Bake in the oven (don’t worry that your sweet potato is in there) for 25 minutes.
- Carefully remove the aluminum foil circle and the pie weights (I do this with a large metal serving spoon) and then bake for 15 more minutes. Let cool while you are waiting for your sweet potato to finish roasting.
- Once your potato is done, turn the oven down to 325 F and then let the potato cool until you can comfortably touch it. Peel it, and then puree it in a blender, food processor, or using an immersion blender. This will make the consistency of the pie nice and smooth. Measure out 1.5 cups of puree. If you have any additional you can use it for something else (makes a yummy snack with cinnamon, nutmeg, and a bit of ghee).
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, maple syrup, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and vanilla extract.
- Add the sweet potato puree and coconut milk to the mixture and whisk until combined.
- Pour the mixture into the tart shell and bake for 20 minutes. Then take that donut-like aluminum piece you cut and put it over the crust to help prevent the crust from turning too brown. Bake for an additional 40 minutes, or until the filling is set. Let cool completely before serving.
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