A feast fit for Thanksgiving: How to make Judy Grossmann’s sweet potato pecan pie and cranberry sauce

Photo by Sylvia Cunningham


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and we’ve been on the hunt for some great recipes to enjoy during this holiday season.

We visited American expat and Thanksgiving enthusiast Judy Grossmann in her Charlottenburg kitchen to learn how to make some of her favorite recipes, including Sweet Potato Pecan Pie with Bourbon Butter Sauce and Cranberry Sauce with Port and Clementine.

This is part two in a special edition of Taste. For part one and the recipe for Judy Grossmann’s Curried Roasted Pumpkin and Tomato Soup, click here.

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie with Bourbon Butter Sauce 

(With thanks to Epicurious)

Makes a 31 cm pie


Pie Crust
350 g flour
¼ tsp sea salt
120 g cold butter, cut into 5 cm chunks
1 tablespoon sugar
3-4 tablespoons ice water

Sweet Potato Filling
500 g sweet potatoes, peeled, cooked until tender and pureed
120 g firmly packed light brown sugar*
2 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg, beaten until frothy
1 tablespoon whipping cream, unwhipped
1 tablespoon butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
½ tsp sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of allspice
Pinch of ground nutmeg

Pecan Syrup
180 g sugar
250 g dark corn syrup**
1 large egg or 2 medium eggs
1 ½ tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of sea salt
215 g whole pecan nuts

Bourbon Butter Sauce
55 g butter
200 g sugar
1 large egg
½ tablespoon very hot water
60 ml whipping cream, unwhipped
60 ml bourbon whiskey


Pie Crust
Combine the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Add the butter and incorporate with your fingertips (or use a pastry blender) until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle the water over the flour mixture in tablespoon increments, stirring gently with a fork (or pastry blender). Do not overwork! Form the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Sweet Potato Filling
Combine all the ingredients thoroughly in a bowl and set aside.

Pecan Syrup
Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and set aside.

Put It Together
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Centigrade. Butter the inside of a 31 cm springform pan.

Roll out the dough to ½ cm thickness in circle about 35 cm in circumference. Cut the edges to about 33 cm. Fold the large circle into the prepared pan and gently but firmly pat it into the edges and at least 4-5 cm up the sides. (Optional: Use the remainder to cut into leaves or other shapes to place on top of the pie before baking.) Chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Spoon the Sweet Potato Filling into the chilled pan, spreading evenly. Gently pour the Pecan Syrup over the top. If using, place leaves or other shapes on top of the pie and bake until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean – about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Cool and serve with Bourbon Butter Sauce.

Bourbon Butter Sauce
Melt the butter in the top of a double boiler over simmering water.

Beat the sugar and egg in a small bowl until blended. Stir the egg mixture into the butter. Add the hot water and stir until the mixture thickens, about seven minutes. Remove from the double boiler and cool to room temperature. Stir in the cream and bourbon.

*American-style, found online in Germany or at American Lifestyle in Berlin
**Found in British shops or online

Cranberry Sauce with Port and Clementine

(From Gourmet)

Makes about 2 cups


340 g fresh or frozen cranberries
150 g sugar
120 ml ruby port
3 (5 cm by 8 cm) strips clementine zest
80 ml clementine juice (from about 2 tangerines)


Bring cranberries, sugar, port, and zest to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cranberries burst, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in juice. Cool completely.


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