Sweet Potato Pie

 I yam what I yam. 

Sorry, couldn’t pass up the old chestnut. Really, this started when I had a can of yams in the pantry, and I was talking to my Mom about some of the oddball foods that made the move to TX with us. It wasn’t supposed to be this way… but that’s another story, I’m not going to keep you waiting that long for the recipe. Suffice it to say that Mom pointed out my can of yams in syrup was most likely sweet potatoes, and she was right. 

So I made pie with ’em. 

Sweet Potato Pie

You could, of course, make this with baked sweet potatoes. I’d recommend increasing the sugar to 3/4 c, and using a little orange juice to make your puree smooth (here, I used reserved liquids from the canned sweet potatoes). The recipe as written makes 2 9″ pies, in single pie shells. 

Pie Filling

  • 3 c sweet potato puree (1 40 oz can of yams in light syrup, drain but reserve liquid)
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 c butter (two sticks), softened
  • 1/2 c half and half
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 pie shells, unbaked

Candied Pecans 

  • 1 c pecan halves
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • pinch of chili powder or cayenne

Preheat oven to 350F

To puree the sweet potatoes, I used my food processor, pulsing a few times to break down the pieces, then on continuous, while adding a drizzle of the reserved liquid, until I formed a smooth puree. At this point, you could easily freeze the puree for later, if you were baking up a bunch of potatoes and wanted to make prep easier for later meals/desserts.

A nice smooth puree, aided by the addition of some liquid to the potato pieces.

In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter with the spices to start releasing their flavors. Cream in the sugar, then add in while mixing (medium speed in a stand mixer) the eggs one at a time, then slowly add the sweet potato puree. Increase speed, and add the half and half, vanilla, and salt. Beat on med-high until well homogenized and fluffy in appearance.

Raw filling should be homogenous and fluffy. Mixing some air in keeps the filling from being very dense after baking.

Add half of the filling to each pie shell, shimmy to level, and bake at 350F for an hour, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out cleanly. 

For pie crust, I used my lard crust recipe, substituting Einkorn flour for wheat flour, which was quite successful, as Einkorn adds a little nuttiness to the flavor. 

It seems I didn’t bring rolling pins to the apartment. Oops? A wine bottle works nicely, with some plastic wrap around it. The silicone mat was a great help, as I could whisk it out of the way for cleaning. What you see here is all of my prep counter space.

The candied pecans, along with whipped cream, served to finish off serving portions, and they add a needed touch of crunchiness as well as great flavor in themselves. 

Using a silicone mat on a cookie sheet, I spread out my pecans, and popped them in the oven under the pies for ten minutes at 350F. When that time was about up, I melted together the butter and sugar in the microwave (took about 30 seconds in mine.) I took the nuts out, shook them around, and drizzled over the melted sugar mixture, then sprinkled the salt and spice over it all before shaking again to coat. I put them back in the oven for another ten minutes, shook, and finished them up for another five minutes, although that last may have been a touch too long. They got on the far side of ‘toasty’ but not all the way to ‘burnt’ and the flavor developed almost  bitter in a few of the nuts. Cool the nuts, and chop. Once completely cool, put in a container for storage – these are fun on all sorts of things, not just the pie! 

They do develop a lovely caramelized top, without being terribly sweet.

The pies were made to be shared with friends, and the verdict is that they came out very well, being not too sweet, but flavorful. The filling baked up light, not nearly as dense as a pumpkin pie, since the potato gave enough structure to keep the custard airy. 

A relaxed evening with friends, means casual dining and you know what? That is a fine setting for this pie.

The final vote of the evening? Yep. Eaten right out of the pie plate! 

Real food being eaten in a real way!