Harvest Pie – A New Holiday Tradition


Slice of Harvest PieHarvest Pie came about after my realtor told me about a casserole he made for Thanksgiving called Harvest Casserole. It sounded so good that I couldn’t wait to make it into a pie.

This is a pretty straight forward pie except for the sweet potatoes in an otherwise apple pie. At about 2 hours, it is also is the longest baking pie in my repertoire . But it is well worth the time.

The combination of apples and sweet potatoes is unusual but adding brandy and a crumb topping may make this Harvest Pie a new tradition for the holidays.

In grocery stores we often see sweet potatoes and yams as two different categories. However, they are most probably all sweet potatoes. Yams are found in South Africa and have no relation to our sweet potatoes and they are hard to find here. There are over 6500 varieties of sweet potatoes but only a few are found in the grocery stores in the States.

I used Granny Smith apples and Red Garnet Sweet Potatoes for this Harvest Pie. Other apples that will hold their shape when baked and any sweet potato will work.

Pie Crust – see how to photos here
1 3/4 cups sifted cake flour (6 1/3 ounces or 180 grams)
1/3 cup sifted all purpose flour (scant 1 1/2 ounces or 40 grams)
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces and refrigerated (90 grams or 3 ounces)
3 tablespoons shortening (like Crisco) frozen (45 grams or 1 1/2 ounces)
2 tablespoons beaten egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
5 tablespoons water, chilled and divided

Place both flours and the salt in the processor bowl. Pulse several times to mix.

Place the butter evenly over the flour and pulse until the butter is in large pieces. Add the frozen shortening and continue to pulse until the shortenings are pea sized.

Combine the egg, lemon juice and water. Pour in a circle over the processor contents. Pulse until it forms clumps.

Pour out onto a lightly floured work surface. Push the clumps together into a ball. Knead 4 or 5 times for form a dough. Pat into a circle about 1 inch thick. Wrap in film and refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to make the crust roll it out on a lightly floured surface, roll out to a circle approximately 13 inches. Place in the pie pan and fit into corners. Cut the overhang an even 1 inch all the way around. Tuck the crust under. Make sure when you flute the edges to keep them about 1 inch above the rim of the pie plate. Chill while you make the crumb topping and filling.Pie shell for Harvest Pie

Harvest Pie Crumb ToppingCrumb topping ingredients for the Harvest Pie1 sticks unsalted butter, softened (115 grams, 4 ounces or 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup granulated sugar (65 grams or 2 1/4 ounces)
1/3 cup packed dark-brown sugar (65 grams or 2 1/4 ounces)
3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups cake flour (not self rising) [185 grams or 6.75 ounces]
1/2 cups chopped pecans

Combine the butter and both sugars in a mixer. Butter and sugars in mixing bowl for Harvest PieCream until very light. Butter and sugars creamed for the Harvest PieCombine the cinnamon, salt and flour; Dry ingredients for Crumb topping for the Harvest PieSift to remove the lumps from the cake flour.  Flour and spices in strainer for the Harvest PieAdd all at once along with the pecansPecans and flour mixture for the Harvest Pie. and beat on medium just until large crumbs form. Scrape down the sides and the bottom for unincorporated flour. Mix briefly until large crumbs form.Crumb topping for the Harvest Pie

Do not over mix or you will end up with a really thick cohesive mixture. Store the crumbs in the refrigerator while you make the cake.Crumbs in bowl for the Harvest Pie

Harvest Pie FillingPie filling ingredients for the Harvest Pie 4 to 5 cups thinly sliced apples, about 3 large apples
4 to 5 cups thinly sliced red garnet sweet potatoes, about 2 large sweet potatoes
1/2 cup sugar (100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar (100 grams or 3 1/2 ounces)
1/3 cup flour (45 grams or 1 1/2 ounces)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 tablespoon brandy
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Zest from one lemon
2 tablespoons butter (45 grams or 1 1/2 ounces)

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Peel, core and thinly slice the apples. Peel and thinly slice the sweet potatoes. There should be about 8 to10 cups.

Combine the sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg  in a small bowl.Dry ingredients for the Harvest PieMix together.  Dry ingredients mixed for the Harvest PieAdd to the apples and sweet potatoes and mix well. Apples, sweet potatoes, dry ingredients for the Harvest PieAdd the brandy, lemon zest and lemon juice, stir to combine. Set aside for 10 to 15 minutes.Apples, sweet potatoes and dry ingrediets mixed for the Harvest Pie

Prepared pie crust
Harvest Pie Filling
Crumb Topping

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Place the filling in the pie shell, pouring any juices in the bottom over it. Crust filled for the Harvest PieDot with butter. Filled crust dotted with butter for Harvest PiePlace on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with the Crumb Topping. Ready for the oven for Harvest PieCover with foil and bake for 60 minutes. Pie covered with foil for Harvest PieRemove the foil, lower the heat to 350°F and bake for 60 more minutes. Check around 30 to 35 minutes to see if the crumbs are browning too quickly. If they are, cover loosely with foil again and continue baking until the apples and sweet potatoes are soft when checked with a cake tester and the juices are bubbling if they are visable.

Cool to warm to room temperature before serving.Finished Harvest Pie

Gilding the lilly: Serve with a scoop of vanilla or better yet, salted caramel ice cream.

For more information and a discussion of the difference between yams and sweet potatoes please see:




Pastry has not only been my profession, but my passion. If there is anything in particular you would like to see or any questions about baking or pastry, please let me know. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a post!
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6 thoughts on “Harvest Pie – A New Holiday Tradition

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Tyronne – That is one solution and I thank you for it. But I didn’t want them to become mushy in the final pie. There ares wonderful sweet potato pie but it is made with mashed sweet potatoes. I wanted these, like the apples to remain in tact but soft.

  1. Rockyrd

    Looks good and a nice combo of flavors.
    Can you tell me why you use cake flour for the crumb part? Lower protein, less gluten? Does it make better crumbs?

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi M.J. – The cake flour makes a much more tender crumb topping. All purpose has a tendency to bake up somewhat harder. However, if that is what you have use it.

  2. Janet D. Morris

    The wonderful woman who is the mother of my Grandson eats very little vegetables, but sweet potatoes are one. Her favorite apple is honeycrisp apple do you think they would work? Thanks in advance!!!

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Janet: I have never cooked with honeycrisp apples but from the word crisp, I would imagine they would. What a wonderful surprise this would be for her and how thoughtful you are.

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