Ready for a pie that will knock the socks off your Thanksgiving guests (or hosts if you’re the lucky one who gets to bring dessert)?

This sweet potato pie with marshmallow meringue from Southern Living’s new book, "The Southern Pie Book," (Oxmoor House, $22.95) is so impressive the editors picked it as the pie most worthy of the book cover.

It’s not the kind of pie that you’ll whip up while finishing up a full dinner on Thursday morning; mash the sweet potatoes and make the crust ahead of time. You could even bake it all the way up until the meringue stage, saving the pillowy marshmallow cloud for the day you plan on serving it.

Sweet Potato Pie with Marshmallow Meringue

For pie crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces

1/4 cup cold lard, cut into pieces

1/4 tsp. table salt

3 Tbsp. ice water

For sweet potato filling:

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. table salt

3 large eggs

3 cups mashed cooked sweet potatoes (from about 2 1/2 lb. peeled sweet potatoes)

1 cup half-and-half

1 Tbsp. lemon zest

3 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

For marshmallow meringue:

3 large egg whites

1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/8 tsp. table salt

1/4 cup sugar

1 (7-oz.) jar marshmallow crème

Combine flour, butter, lard and salt in a bowl with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas. Sprinkle ice water, 1 Tbsp. at a time, over surface of mixture in bowl; stir with a fork until dry ingredients are moistened. Shape into a ball; cover and chill 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll dough into a 13-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate; fold edges under, and crimp. Line pastry with aluminum foil, and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove weights and foil; bake 5 to 10 more minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees. Stir together melted butter, sugar, salt and eggs in a large bowl until well blended. Add sweet potatoes, half and half, lemon zest, juice and nutmeg; stir until well blended. Pour sweet potato mixture into prepared crust. (Pie will be very full.)

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 55 minutes or until a knife inserted in center comes out clean, shielding with aluminum foil to prevent excessive browning.

While pie is baking, prepare meringue. Beat egg whites, vanilla and salt at high speed with an electric stand mixer until foamy. Gradually add sugar, 1 Tbsp. at a time, beating just until stiff peaks form and sugar dissolves, about 2 to 4 minutes.

Beat one-fourth of marshmallow crème into egg white mixture; repeat 3 times with remaining marshmallow crème, beating until smooth, about 1 minute.

Once pie had finished baking, spread meringue over hot filling, sealing edges. (If you’ve baked the sweet potato pie ahead and refrigerated it, bring it to room temperature before adding meringue.) Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. Serves 8.

— From "The Southern Pie Book" by Jan Moon and the editors at Southern Living magazine (Oxmoor House, $22.95)