Sweet Potato Pie
(American, Southern-Soul sweet potato open-faced tart)
Sweet potato pies are an old Southern American favorite, with roots that probably trace back to West Africa. Compared to that Thanksgiving standby, the pumpkin pie, sweet potato pies are a little bit denser and richer. Many people prefer them. Serve up slices of sweet potato pie for any occasion.
Makes 1 pie for 6 to 8 servings
- Pie crust, unbaked -- 1 (9-inch)
- Sweet potatoes -- 1 1/2 pounds (about 2 large sweet potatoes)
- Brown sugar -- 1 cup
- Cinnamon -- 1 1/2 teaspoons
- Nutmeg -- 1/4 teaspoon
- Eggs, beaten -- 3
- Evaporated milk -- 1 (5-ounce) can
- Butter, melted -- 4 tablespoons
- Vanilla -- 1 teaspoon
- Salt -- a pinch
- Prepare a single pie crust according to this recipe, or use your favorite recipe. Line a 9-inch pie pan with the crust and crimp the edges. Keep refrigerated until you have prepared the remaining ingredients. For a shortcut, use a store-bought crust.
- Preheat your oven to 350°F. Add the whole sweet potatoes to a large saucepan and add water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high flame, then reduce heat and boil, uncovered, until a sharp knife easily pierces the potatoes, anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes.
- Drain the sweet potatoes and set aside to cool. When the potatoes have cooled, peel off and discard the skins. Use a potato masher to mash the sweet potatoes until they are fairly smooth, another minute or so.
- Add the mashed sweet potatoes to the bowl of an electric mixer along with the brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes. Next add the eggs, evaporated milk, butter, vanilla and salt, and continue to beat until smooth and fairly loose.
- Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator, and pour the sweet potato mixture into the pie pan. Set the pie on a baking sheet and place it in the oven. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
- Take the pie out of the oven and let it cool for at least and hour before cutting into slices.
- Serve with whipped cream. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.
Sweet Potato Pie Notes and Variations
- Sweet Potato Pecan Pie: Try this for a satisfying combo of two Southern pie favorites. After the pie is done baking and has cooled, heat 3 tablespoons of butter and 1 cup of chopped pecans in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup of sugar and stir until the sugar is fully dissolved. Pour over the top of the pie and spread gently to cover. Let cool until hardened.
- There is no one correct way to make sweet potato pie. You can vary the ratios of sweet potatoes to sugar, eggs and milk to your taste to make a denser or lighter pie.
- You can also cooked the sweet potatoes in a microwave. Poke them all over with a fork, then microwave on high for
- Add more or less brown sugar to your liking. Use plain white sugar if you prefer.
- Many recipes substitute whipping cream or regular milk for the evaporated milk.
- Recipes often omit the butter, but it does add a velvety texture to the filling. Some cooks insist that you need a full stick of butter per pie.
- Spices and Flavoring: Other spices to flavor your pie include ground ginger, ground cloves or ground cardamom. Give it a boozy kick with a shot of bourbon.
- Other Toppings: A Northern variation (considered a bastardization by Southerners) has baby marshmallows on the top. There are also versions with meringue topping.