True Pie Stories: Jen Wang & Jake Mumm’s Sweet Potato Pie With Bacon & Candied Pecans

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KCRW Pie Contest judge Jonathan Gold congratulates Jen Wang on her Savory Sweet Potato Pie with Bacon and Candied Pecans win (2011).

When co-organizers of the Comic Arts Los Angeles Festival, cartoonist Jen Wang and Jake Mumm, first heard the Good Food Pie Contest promo on KCRW in 2011, it sounded like a fun excuse to get creative and experiment in the kitchen. The pair baked pies together on occasion and thought this would be a chance to up their pie game.

Being involved with Slow Food LA, they loved that the Good Food Pie Contest was open to anyone, bringing together the entire community, regardless of baking credentials. And depending on one’s palate, there were multiple categories to choose from: Best in Show, Fruit, Nut, Cream, Savory and even LACMA’s Tim Burton-inspired (a nod to the museum’s exhibition featuring the filmmaker and his work) category.

Jen & Jake
Jen Wang and Jake Mumm with their taro pie. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

Admittedly more drawn to savory than sweet, the pair began brainstorming and decided to try their hands at a Savory Sweet Potato Pie. But the question was: How to take it to the next level? As they tried different ingredient pairings, they finally arrived at their winning combination: layering chunks of sweet potatoes with crisped bacon and candied pecans, resulting in just the right mixture of sweet and savory with a touch of added crunch. Our judges agreed, awarding Jen and Jake second place at the Good Food Pie Contest that year.

But not to cut a pie story short, Jen and Jake also entered a total of three pies the following year, bringing home yet another win. This time, for their sweet Taro Pie, in addition to a Thai peanut butter cream pie and a savory Scandinavian-inspired fish pie. Though the fish pie was decidedly their favorite, the contest judges were huge fans of the pair’s Taro Pie, awarding it second place in the contest’s Creative category. Inspired by LACMA’s Metropolis II exhibition theme that year, the baking duo envisioned their Taro Pie as a highway being driven by black sesame sedans.When asked how they arrived at their creation, Jen remarked that taro is commonly used in Asian desserts, but that she’d never seen it used as sweet pie filling, so they decided to put it to the test. Clearly, it more than passed.

Below, Jen Wang and Jake Mumm have shared their delicious Savory Sweet Potato Pie with Bacon and Candied Pecans recipe with us! Give it a try and maybe you’ll find yourself inspired to enter this year’s 7th Annual Good Food Pie Contest. We hope so!

Savory Sweet Potato Pie
Jen Wang and Jake Mumm’s Savory Sweet Potato Pie with Bacon and Candied Pecans. (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)