Best 2 Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

My thoughts

I’m not big on eating sweets, I try to stay away from them. Resisting this sweet potato pie is something I just cannot do though! I will seriously eat an entire sweet potato pie, knowing the next day I’m going to hate my life. There’s got to be some really special about this recipe then, right? There is!! My grandmother would make this recipe and wow the entire family year after year. It was like eating it for the first time every holiday, I managed to dig these sweet potato pie recipes out of her recipe book and I think its time to share it with you guys.

sweet potato pie

History of Sweet Potato Pie

The sweet potato pie has been around for almost as long as the pumpkin pie has! This particular recipe has been a staple in the African American community since the 16th century, more specifically the colonial period. Although, the sweet potato pie got its stripes here in America, there are recipes that indicate a similar recipe was drifting around medieval Europe for quite some time. The sweet potato pie came to be because of its look-a-like, the pumpkin pie. Go figure right?

In the 16th century, the Europeans introduced pumpkin pie to Africans during the slave trade. The uses of the sweet potato trace back to a similar ingredient in the West African cuisine, the “Yam”. A yam is a herbaceous vine cultivated for the consumption of their starchy tubers native to  Africa, South America and the Caribbean, Asia, and Oceania regions.So, it makes sense they quickly fell in love with this tasty treat, and who wouldn’t? Upon arrival to the states, thenow, African Americans wanted to replicate the delicious dessert they ate prior to settling in the new land. The only thing was, pumpkins and Yams were not available to them. Instead of using pumpkins they took the most closely related vegetable they had, which was the sweet potato!The sweet potato was not an overnight success though.

Using the sweet potato was genius, I like sweet potato pie more than pumpkin in this type of application. I took the African American population a bit more time to accept, what they would call, the “white man’s yam”.  It wasn’t the vegetable they were accustomed to, but ultimately it was embraced because the enslaved people did not have access to the true yam.

This savory pie went through a few stages before reaching the product we see today. The recipe first started off known as, the sweet potato “pound”. The word “pound” is loosely translated from the Native American word for a type ofbaked bread.The unlawfully enslaved people, were eating the coal roasted sweet potato, or eating a mash of spiced sweet potato, as their dessert. Once they obtained ovens and other cooking technology, they started adding their recipes to pie shells.

After slavery was finally abolished, African Americans were forced to set free and rightfully so. Unfortunately for the free men and women, their problems didn’t stop there. Displeased plantation owners in the south made it impossible for the African Americans to have a decent life in that part of the country. This forced to African Americans to, again, relocate by the masses. This movement was called the great migration.  During this migration, an estimated 6 million black families moved  to cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Detroit and others. This was down right wrong for the families affected by this unfair treatment, but by this movement, the sweet potato pie was spread like a wildfire throughout the country.

The sweet potato pie made its first appearance in printed cookbooks in the 18th century! This delicacy was actually considered a savory dish rather than the dessert we see now days. It truly didn’t become a dessert until the early 19th century. Unlike its counterpart, the pumpkin pie, people often wonder why go through all the work of dealing with the sweet potato for such a similar dessert. This contributes to the side of food people don’t typically take into account.

Sure the sweet potato pie is delicious, but it also has sentimental value as a memory. Like most foods, the African American community have a special connection with this particular dish. It serves as a reminder of the times they endured, maybe it serves as a memory of loved ones. For whatever reasons there may be, this food is special. This history just goes to show, food doesn’t have to be a thousand years old to be something great.

What is Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet potato pie is a traditional southern dessert, which originated (as we know it) in the southern united states during the colonial period. It is often served during the holiday season in America. This pie often replaces pumpkin pie, especially at Christmas and thanksgiving.

This pie is commonly found topped with whipped cream or toasted nuts such as pecans.

How To Make Sweet Potato Pie

Making sweet potato pie is actually pretty easy. It does take a bit of time depending on the type of potatoes you use, but all in all the techniques required are basic level cooking methods.

First and foremost, you need to choose the type of potato you will be using. Not only can you choose type of sweet potato you want to use, you can just bypass the cooking of sweet potatoes altogether and buy canned sweet potatoes.

Once you have found your main ingredient (type of sweet potato), now you must cook the potato. If you choose canned then skip this step.  When cooking sweet potatoes you may chose to roast, steam, boil, etc. All of these cooking methods have their uses. When making a pie, I prefer to use a method which doesn’t introduce any more liquid than necessary, because the idea is to cook some of the moisture out of this pie. In layman’s terms, I have found that roasting the potatoes in their skin is the ideal practice for this recipe. If time is of the essence, then cut the potatoes down to roast faster.

Once the potatoes are cooked and peeled, it is time to flavor them. The easiest way is to combine ingredients into a blender and puree them that way. I also prefer this method because the blender whips air into the mix leaving a light and almost frothy puree. You may flavor it how you like, but I will leave ingredients in the recipes below.

Once you have a smooth and silky puree, it is time to pour into your pie crust. You can make your pie crust with our Vegan pie crust recipes or you can simply buy one.The pies take a considerable time to bake in the oven, so they require a lower temperature as well. I bake min at 350F for about a 1 Hr. – 1 Hr. 20 minutes. Due to such a long bake time, you will need to “tent” the pie crust around the hour mark.

Once the pie is cooked, leave it alone for at least an hour or two to let it cool. It is very important you let the pie rest and let the filling set, or you will run into some problems cutting. Once rested, top with whatever you want and eat it!!

Ingredients for Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet potato pie can contain a wide variety of ingredients but here are some of the major ones you will commonly see.

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are considered underground tubers.  These tasty vegetables are packed with nutrients making them very desirable in almost all diet communities. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and an antioxidant called beta carotene, which is directly associated with raising blood levels with vitamin A.  Sweet potatoes are commonly orange in color but can also be found in white, yellow, purple, and other varieties.  These tubers are also called “yams” in the north America region of the world, which is a misconception because they are a totally different species.

Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Sweet potatoes have many health benefits and offer a variety of nutrients needed in a healthy diet. You will find relatively high amounts of carbs, fibers, protein and of course, starch in these delicious vegetables.  You will also find a wide variety of vitamins and minerals from Vitamin A to B6.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a staple in the vegan community for the simple fact they are a cows milk alternative. Needless to say, this product has many properties that are appealing to the vegan chef or home cook and will be seen in a wide array of vegan recipes all over. Coconut milk is harvested from the flesh of mature brown coconuts which, consequently, are the fruit of a coconut tree. The coconut flesh is mixed with water, which makes coconut milk yielding about 50% water content.

This  product is not to be confused with coconut water, although they are similar. Coconut water is found in green underripe coconuts and are about 94% water.

Cornstarch

Cornstarch is a common food ingredient often used to thicken sauces and soups, to leaven breading, and to make corn syrup. Also known as Maize starch or corn flour, this powdery substance is derived from corn grain, more specifically, it is extracted from the endo sperm of the corn kernel.

Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is a solution of extracted flavor from vanilla beans. It is made by macerating and percolating vanilla beans in ethanol and water. This ingredient is considered essential in western cuisine. It is commonly found in baked goods and other desserts such as: ice cream, cookies, cakes, pies, and so on.

 Sweet Potato Pie Tricks and Tips

Pie Crust

The pie crust is half the battle when it come to sweet potato pie. You need to decide what kind of crust you are looking for and execution. Check here for our vegan pie crusts options.

Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Using a homemade crust will be way better than store bought, but you will need to take a few steps. First, you will need to follow the pie crust recipe. Then, you will need to par bake the crust.

Type of Sweet Potatoes

Be sure to do your research on the type of sweet potato you are using for your pie. Especially so if you are using fresh potatoes, which I recommend. Every species of sweet potato have different levels of sweetness and starchiness and can affect the pie if you choose the wrong one.

If you decide to go with canned sweet potato puree, then check the nutrition facts label. Find the option with the lowest sodium, chances are this will be your best bet. You need to make sure you know the brand because some canned purees have no flavor.

Some sweet potato varieties can have stringy textures even after cooked. There is nothing wrong with them or how you cooked them, it just happens. It is important that if you see this problem occurring that you puree the sweet potatoes well, then pass them through a fine mesh strainer or sieve.

Cooking Potatoes

As I stated above, roasting the potatoes in the skin is my favorite option. As they roast the natural sugars caramelize adding a depth of flavor you don’t get elsewhere. If you are set on boiling the potatoes, be sure to let them thoroughly dry before advancing to the next step.

Vegan Butter

Butter makes a world of difference in these recipes so I strongly suggest using vegan butter. Using vegan butter makes a big difference in flavor, but if you really want to step up the flavor, then brown the butter! Simply cook over low heat in a sauté pan until the butter turns brown!

Canned Milk

Being Vegan, this is an important step to follow.  The essence of a true sweet potato pie relies on the preserved milk flavor, due to the history of this recipe. In sweet potato pie, using canned milk is a necessity. This may sound weird, but trust me on this.

Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Consistency

The filling is huge when it comes to pie, obviously! How you make your puree will set the tone for how it comes out. If you simply mash the potatoes, it will have some texture and chunks. Using a mixer will still leave smaller bits but still some smooth texture, and using a blender will have a completely smooth feel.  They are all good, so pick which one you prefer.

Make sure the top of your pie is as even as you can get it, this will ensure even cooking throughout the process.

 Baking

Probably the most important part of the process. This is the most crucial pat because over baking will leave you a dense and less pleasing pie, while under baking will cause the pie to never set, yielding it un-sliceable.

Give the pie a slight shake. The center should waiver a little bit, slightly giggly in the center. If you don’t feel comfortable going off those crude instructions, then temp the pie. If the pie is at 175 F its ready! You can always stick to knife trick as well. Insert a knife into the center of the pie, then pull it out. The knife should come out clean, but moist.

”Tenting”

Tenting the pie crust is an absolute must! Tenting is the process of wrapping the pie crust in aluminum foil to prevent further browning. You usually tent the crust when the pie is 3/4s the way cooked.

Resting

Even though the aroma of freshly baked sweet potato pie in unbearably seductive, you need to give the pie plenty of time to cool. Cutting into a sweet potato pie that has not set, will ruin the entire pie. Trust me I have done it, more times than I’m going to admit.

Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Spice

Even though it looks like pumpkin pie it isn’t. It isn’t being creative using pumpkin pie spice on sweet potato pie. The pie will be ruined before it even began. Let the natural flavors show, you will be pleased I promise.

Equipment Needed

  • 1 9 in pie dish
  • 1 potato masher, hand mixer, stand mixer, or blender
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • 1 rolling pin
  • 1 rubber spatula
  • Aluminum foil

Sweet Potato Pie (Canned Potatoes)

Sweet Potato Pie recipe

Yield: 1 Pie ( 8 servings)

Prep Time: 30 Minutes

Cook Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients

  • 15           oz           Sweet Potato, canned
  • 1              Cup        Coconut Milk, canned
  • ¾             Cup        Brown Sugar
  • 2              Tbsp      Vegan Butter, browned
  • 2              Tbsp      Cornstarch
  • 1              tsp          Vanilla Extract
  • 1              tsp          Cinnamon, ground
  • ½             tsp          Kosher Salt
  • ¼             tsp          Nutmeg, fresh ground
  • 1              recipe   Vegan Pie Crust(or store bought), par baked

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. While the oven is preheating, grease your pie dish and go ahead a place your pie crust in the baking vessel. So it is ready to go.
  2. Next, in a mixing bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Whether you mash by hand, mixer, or blender; be sure the ingredients are incorporated while maintain the consistency you like. I think blending the canned sweet potatoes is the best option.
  3. Once the ingredients are combined properly and the consistency you prefer, pour the filling into the par baked pie crust. Be sure to smooth out the top to make it as even as possible.
  4. Place the pie into the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the crust gets golden brown. Take the pie crust out and tent the crust with aluminum foil to prevent further browning. Then place back in the oven and bake for another 25- 30 minutes.
  5. The pie will be done cooking when it has an internal temperature of 175F or when you stick a knife into it and it comes out clean but moist.
  6. Once cooked, pull the pie out and let cool at room temperature. It will take at least 1 hour to cool.
  7. Once cool, slice and serve!

Nutrition Facts

 

Sweet Potato Pie (Fresh Potatoes)

Sweet Potato Pie Recipe

Yield: 2 Pies ( 16 servings)

Prep Time: 45 Minutes

Cook Time: 1 Hour

Ingredients

  • 4              Cups      Sweet Potatoes, roasted& peeled
  • 4              oz           Vegan Butter
  • 1              Med.     Cinnamon Stick
  • 2              Tbsp      Cornstarch
  • 14           oz           Condensed Coconut Milk, canned
  • 1              Cup        Sugar
  • 2              tsp          Vanilla Extract
  • 2              tsp          Lemon Juice, fresh
  • ½             tsp          Kosher salt
  • 1              recipe   Vegan Pie Crusts, par baked

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. While the oven is preheating, grease your pie dishes and go ahead a place your pie crusts in the baking vessel. If using a homemade dough, be sure to par bake your crust beforehand.
  2. In a small sauté pan, add vegan butter and cinnamon and cook over low heat. Cook until the butter is brown and fragrant. Once brown, about 3-4 minutes, strain butter through a fine mesh strainer over a medium mixing bowl. Discard the cinnamon stick.
  3. Finally, combine the remaining ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix well. I like using a mixer for this recipe, whether it is a stand mixer or hand mixer. Blend until your desired consistency, just be sure to incorporate ingredients thoroughly. The mixture should get light and fluffy.
  4. Divide the mixture evenly between the crusts and place in the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes and check the crust. If you don’t want any more browning, then tent the crust with aluminum foil. I strongly recommend doing this. Place back in the oven and continue to bake another 15 to 20 minutes or so.
  5. The pie will be done cooking when it has an internal temperature of 175F or when you stick a knife into it and it comes out clean but moist.
  6. Once cooked, pull the pie out and let cool at room temperature. It will take at least 1 hour to cool.
  7. Once cool, slice and serve!

Nutrition Facts

 

FAQs

  1. Does sweet potato pie need to be refrigerated?

Yes, sweet potato pies need to be refrigerated. I cannot endorse leaving the sweet potato pie out at room temperature for long periods of time.

 

  1. How do you store sweet potato pie in the fridge? Reheat it ?

Wrap the pie loosely in aluminum foil or plastic and store in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. You can reheat the pie by baking it for a short time. It would be wise to cut the pie into slices if you haven’t already, then reheating it.

 

  1. Can you freeze sweet potato pie?

Yes, you can. There are two ways I’ve come up with to do it. You can freeze a baked pie in the freezer for up to 3-5 months, you then have to thaw it out slowly in the fridge. You must thaw this out in the fridge because if it thaws to fast, the condensation will ruin the pie.

You can also freeze the pie crust and filling separately. The pie crust can be par cooked, but the filling uncooked. Then you don’t have to thaw out so slowly.

 

  1. What toppings should I use?

Vegan whipped cream is always a good choice. I also like to use candied nuts or maybe some candied citrus. You can really do anything you want. I’ve seen burnt marshmallows and I’ve also seen cheez-its.

Sources

Shepard, R. (2020, February 11). Sweet potato pie is for the soul: Why it’s important to African-Americans. Retrieved December 01, 2020, from https://www.southernkitchen.com/articles/eat/african-american-history-sweet-potato-pie

Bjarnadottir, A. (2019, May 13). Sweet Potatoes 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits. Retrieved December 01, 2020, from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/sweet-potatoes

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