Sweet potatoes replace pumpkin in this Southern sweetened vegetable pie recipe, an adaptation of sweet potato pies popular for decades. The cornmeal pastry and struesel topping can be made up to 3 days before assembling the pie.
If using fresh sweet potatoes, peel potatoes. Cut off woody portions and ends; discard. Cut sweet potatoes into quarters. In a covered large saucepan, cook sweet potatoes in enough boiling, salted water to cover for 25 to 35 minutes or until tender; drain.
In a medium bowl, mash drained fresh or canned sweet potatoes (you should have 1-1/2 cups). Reserve any remaining sweet potatoes for another use. Stir in brown sugar, butter, orange peel, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Whisk in eggs and half-and-half.
Place Cornmeal Pastry shell on oven rack; pour in filling. Cover edge of pie with foil. Bake in a 375 degree F oven for 30 minutes.
Remove foil. Sprinkle with Pecan Streusel Topping. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes more or until a knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes. Chill at least 2 hours before serving; cover for longer storage. Makes 8 servings.
Refrigerate prepared cornmeal pastry and pecan streusel topping, covered, up to 3 days.
In a medium bowl, stir together all-purpose flour; yellow cornmeal; sugar; and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in shortening until pieces are pea-size. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Repeat moistening dough, using 1 tablespoon cold water at a time until all the dough is moistened. Form into a ball.
On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to slightly flatten dough. Roll dough from center to edge into a 12-inch circle. To transfer pastry, wrap it around the rolling pin. Unroll pastry into a 9-inch pie plate; ease pasty into pie plate, being careful not to stretch pastry. Trim to 1/2 inch beyond edge of plate. Fold under extra pastry; crimp edge high. Do not prick.
In a small bowl, stir together all-purpose flour, packed brown sugar, ground cinnamon, and ground nutmeg. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in toasted, coarsely chopped pecans.