Sweet Carrot Pie

To understand just how surprisingly good this carrot pie is, you must first understand that I find carrots – especially on their own – pretty uninspiring.

Boring, if we ditch the civility.

I cook with them, I eat them without complaint or holding my nose like I did as a boy. But they simply don’t rock my world the way greens – like collards and kale – fresh corn and tomatoes, eggplant, spuds, brussels sprouts and most other veggies do.

Sweet Carrot Pie from The Harvest Baker, by Ken Haedrich

Photo © Johnny Autry from The Harvest Baker by Ken Haedrich, Storey Publishing

But I was open to persuasion when I started tinkering with a recipe for carrot pie, a sweet one, for my recently published book The Harvest Baker. Good thing, too. Now I’m convinced that carrot pie is a gem waiting to be discovered. I’d go so far as to say this Sweet Carrot Pie can hold it’s own against any sweet potato or pumpkin pie out there.

Why should this come as welcome news? For starters, have you noticed that your local farm stands are buried in snow, and that the supermarket shelves are mostly bereft of pie-worthy fruit? (The fruit that is there will give you sticker shock.)

And because National Pie Day is this week – January 23rd – so it’s practically your civic duty to step up to the plate, so to speak, with a wedge of something befitting your pie prowess.

Here it is. The resemblance to the aforementioned sweet potato or pumpkin pie is unmistakeable. The filling is rich, creamy and sweet, with spicy overtones. The brain expects one thing, then the subtle carrot flavor sneaks up and you realize you’ve been had – in the most delicious way imaginable.

Sweet Carrot Pie from The Harvest Baker by Ken Haedrich

You need a little rich and creamy this time of year. They’re a good cure for cabin fever and a legitimate answer for your winter comfort food cravings, so I hope you try this. Send me a picture if you do, and enjoy every last bite.

Related Posts and Links You Won’t Want to Miss

North Carolina Sweet Potato Pie – In case sweet carrot pie is just too hard to swallow.

Creamy Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie – Because the best pumpkin pies have much in common with cheesecake.

Maple Pumpkin Pie for Procrastinators – Maple syrup season will be here soon. This is one good way to celebrate it. Here are many more, by yours truly.

The Best Pie Pans – Last week’s story and video on my favorite pie pans drew all sorts of emails and comments on YouTube. Thank you! I learned from you that the maker of one of my pan picks, Haeger, recently closed down after 145 years in business. I was sorry to hear that. And I was amazed by how many of you mentioned that you can’t wait to see my follow up video on foil pie pans, so I’m busy working on that one now.

The No-More-Tears Pie Pastry Course – More about this soon, but we’ve moved our signature course over to a new online platform that will allow us to expand our course offerings – for both The Pie Academy and our forthcoming site, The Good Cooks Academy – in 2018. This new platform adds a great deal of  functionality and new features that will make our future courses more dynamic, interactive, and engaging. If you’re not already a course member, or you’ve been thinking about signing up for The No-More-Tears Pie Pastry Course, now would be a great time.

The No-More-Tears Pie Pastry Course

The Harvest Baker – My latest book – the one mentioned above – is an irresistible collection of recipes for anyone who loves to bake with fresh produce. The link will take you to the trailer and our online store. If you’d like to order a copy and have me sign it, let me know. Just make a note on the order page when you check out.

PASTRY NOTES: Use any of your favorite pie dough recipes here (enough to make a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish shell), such as our Good Basic Pie Dough or Three-Grain Butter Crust. 

Sweet Carrot Pie


  • Good Basic Pie Dough, Three-Grain Butter Crust or enough of your favorite pie pastry to make one 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie
  • 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  • 1 pound medium-size carrots, trimmed and peeled
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half or light cream
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional but nice)
  • Whipped cream, for garnish


  1. If you haven’t already, prepare the pie dough and refrigerate it for about 1 hour before rolling.
  2. On a sheet of lightly floured wax paper, roll the dough into a 12 1/2 - 13-inch circle. Invert the pastry over a 9 1/2-inch deep-dish pie pan, center it, then peel off the paper. Gently tuck the pastry into the pan without stretching it. Sculpt the overhanging dough into an upstanding ridge and flute, if desired. Prick the bottom of the pie shell 6 or 7 times with a fork. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or place in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Tear off a sheet of aluminum foil about 16-inches long. Carefully - so you don’t disturb the dough - line the pie shell with the foil, pressing it into the creases so it fits like a glove. Add a thick layer of dried beans, banking them up the sides.
  4. Bake the pie shell on the center oven rack for 25 minutes. Slide it out and carefully remove the foil and beans. Repoke the holes if they’ve filled in. Slide the shell back in and bake another 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer the pie shell to a cooling rack. Once cooled, smear a little cream cheese or sour cream into the fork holes to plug them. Cool the beans thoroughly, store in a jar, and save them for next time.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400°. Tear off two 14-inch long pieces of aluminum foil; butter the middle part of each sheet with the soft butter. Cut the carrots in half, or into thirds, and place them in the middle of each sheet, dividing them equally. Seal tightly in the foil and bake for about 50 minutes, until soft. Set the foil packets aside and open the foil so the carrots cool.
  6. Set the oven to 350°. When the carrots have cooled, cut them into large chunks and place in a food processor with the brown sugar and flour. Process to a very smooth puree, scraping down the sides once or twice. Add the eggs, lemon zest, and salt, and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and whisk in the heavy cream, half-and-half, vanilla, and spices.
  7. Pour the filling into the pie shell. Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until the filling is set. When done, the sides of the pie will have puffed up a little, more so than in the middle, and the filling will jiggle as a whole. There should be no sign of uncooked filling or soupiness in the center.
  8. Transfer the pie to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly. Refrigerate. This pie is best served cool or cold, so refrigerate at least an hour or so before serving (with whipped cream.) Makes 8 to 10 servings.