Bourbon-Sweet Potato Pie with Spiced, Brown-Sugar Meringue

2 medium sweet potatoes (1.75-2.0 lbs.) (2 1/2 - 3 c.), peeled and cut into 2" cubes
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon fresh-grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs, separated
2/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 cup half and half
1/4 cup unsalted butter, plus 1/2 cup melted
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup Maker's Mark bourbon
1/2 teaspoon cream of tarter - for whipping egg whites

8 sheets frozen phyllo dough , thawed in refrigerator
1 stick, unsalted butter - melted
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup granulated sugar
(reserve 2 tbsp. of mixture to put into meringue)

Put cubed potatoes in pressure cooker along with ½ cup water and set for six minutes. When pressure cooker is done, do a quick pressure release to release steam and once it is all out you can remove the top.

Place cooled, cubed potatoes into a ricer or food processor and mix until smooth - place into a mixing bowl.  Add ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon, mixing to combine.  Add vanilla, salt, egg yolks, bourbon, flour, butter and brown sugar; set aside.

Put egg whites and cream of tartar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on high speed until almost stiff peaks and foamy.  Gently fold egg whites into sweet potato mixture.  Set aside.

Brush 1 phyllo sheet with melted butter. Sprinkle lightly with spiced-sugar mixture. Fold in half; then half again so you have a rectangle.  Place first rectangle laying in the middle of pie dish.  Fit subsequent rectangles into pie pan, placing with corner pointing into center of dish and edges of phyllo draping over edge of pan, allowing a for a 2" overhang. Repeat with other layers, overlapping sheets to cover bottom.

Pour sweet potato mixture into phyllo covered pan and fold edges up and over to slightly cover the filling. Bake pie until puffed and just set in center, 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven; cool completely before putting meringue on.

1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp. reserved sugar/spice mixture
1 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cream of tartar
7 egg whites

Place egg whites into bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment.  In a separate bowl mix together sugars, cornstarch, and cream of tartar.  Turn mixer on high and once whites begin to foam, slowly pour in sugar mixture.  Once whites form stiff peaks and are shiny, add vanilla and beat momentarily to combine.  Spread onto cooled pie and place in a 375 degree-preheated oven for 15 minutes to brown - rotating pie if necessary.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before serving.

ALTERNATIVELY - you can roast your sweet potatoes by placing them in a 400 degree oven for roughly 45 minutes - toss them with some olive oil and stir every 10-15 minutes.

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