My Sweet Potato Pie is the best. I know, it’s a bold statement. Not only do I make the best pie, but I should make the best pie, because once upon a time, in a galaxy not too far away, I was an East Texas Yamboree Queen (Fun Photos Below). All things being equal, Yams = Sweet Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes = Yams, with a few exceptions, I consider theses cousins to be the same.
Okay, I can hear the chuckles. To add to the story, my mother was a Yamboree Queen, and we were the first mother, daughter queens. Where I come from this is a big cultural event. A very big deal. Sadly, when I was in college at SMU, and the topic became the punchline at parties, I soon learned to not brag about my queenly prize. I will tell you, while my friends fell over in laughter at the concept of being a sweet potato queen, they were first in line to get a slice of pie.
So here it is, my recipe refined, and refined, and refined to represent the best Sweet Potato Pie possible. For my young cousins; Stephanie, Elizabeth, Emily and Adam, this needs to be in the family recipe file (wink). P.S. This pie is also yummy for breakfast!
Before we begin, I want to share a few science links from the website of Michael Greger, MD, NutritionFacts.org.
Is it better to Bake, Boil, or Steam Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet Potato Proteins vs. Cancer.
My Sweet Potato Pie Recipe
The Crust: Make your own…don’t buy it.
The Pie Crust Ingredient List (Gluten Free Crust Recipe is Below)
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt (I use Redmond Brand Real Salt)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoon brown sugar; light or dark.
1 cup shortening or unsalted butter ( I make mine vegan with Spectrum Brand All Vegetable Shortening)
1/2 cup very cold water. I begin by adding 1/4 cup, then 1 tablespoon of additional water (from this 1/2 cup measure) at a time. It is random, but sometimes the dough can become too wet with the full 1/2 cup water, and sometimes with the added sugar and cinnamon, I may need one tablespoon more than the 1/2 cup. You will know when it sticks together.
The Pie Crust Preparation Method
- In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients; flour, salt, cinnamon and brown sugar. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in water until mixture forms a ball. Divide dough in half, and shape into flattened rounds. Wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
- On a lightly floured work board, roll out dough, being careful not to overwork it.
- This recipe makes 2 regular pie crust. For an apple pie, I use it for the base, and for the top cover. If I use it for a single pie that requires only a base crust, divide the recipe in half, or make pie crust cookies from the left over scrap.
- Since I am using a deep-dish pie baking dish, I generally use the whole recipe, and have thick, rustic edges on this pie. (see photo below)
- The brown sugar added into the crust, can possibly cause the crust to burn too quickly. I make a foil cover for the edge, then remove it for the final 30 minutes of bake time.
- When a pie crust is this thick, I think par baking is necessary. Once the dough is in the baking dish, using the points of a fork, poke 8-10 holes in the bottom, line it with parchment, fill with ceramic pie weights to keep the dough from sliding down and bubbling on the bottom. Bake at 425º for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, remove pie weights into a bowl for cooling. Egg wash the complete crust with an egg white. I do not use the yolk. The fat content can cause the crust to burn. Place the pie back into the oven for 30 seconds to 1 minute allowing the egg wash to set. An egg wash will give the rim of your crust a pretty color, and will help the bottom of the pie to not become soggy. Once this is done, the egg wash is set, allow it to cool about 10 minutes, and fill with sweet potato pie filling.
The Pie Filling Ingredient List
NOTE: I use a deep-dish Emile Henry Brand Pie Baking Dish (Photo Below). Most recipes call for 1 pound of baked sweet potato. I use 1 pound, plus 6 to 7 ounces baked sweet potato to fill the deep-dish. I also bake for an additional 30 minutes than most recipes call for. My recommendation, if you are not using a deep-dish baker, and you have extra batter, create a sweet potato custard. Don’t worry about a crust, just pour the extra batter into individual-size ramekins. Bake at 350º until a knife comes out clean. Baking time should be about 30 minutes.
1 pound + 6 to 7 ounces peeled, cooked sweet potatoes
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/2 cup sugar (I use unbleached organic cane sugar)
2 tablespoons brown sugar; light or dark
1/2 cup milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use Redmond Brand Real Salt)
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, heaped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, heaped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I spill mine over a few extra drops)
The Pie Filling Preparation Method
- Peel and boil sweet potatoes. After they are done, and cooled, weight on a culinary scale to reach 1 pound + 6 to 7 ounces. (I start by purchasing about 2 pounds of raw sweet potatoes. You will lose weight when the skin is peeled, and in the cooking process)
- In a large bowl, add sweet potato and butter, mix till fully creamed together.
- Add in sugar, milk, eggs, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla. Mix well.
- Pour filling into an unbaked, or par-baked pie crust.
- Bake at 350º for 1 1/2 hours.
- Pie will puff up like a soufflé, and then will sink down as it cools.
- Note: I cover the outer rim of my pie crust with a circle of foil. This keeps the brown sugar in the pie crust mix from browning too rapidly. I rotate the pie, about half way through baking, and remove the foil ring at that time.
- Pie is done when a fork or knife comes out clean. Allow to cool, and set up. This pie may be runny if cut too soon.
Gluten Free Pie Crust
This pie crust is from the website of Gluten Free Forever Magazine. If you are working on being gluten free, please subscribe to their blog. They have incredibly delicious recipes. Rather than re-keyboard it out, here’s the link to the Gluten-Free Pie Crust.
…and now, as promised, here’s is what a Sweet Potato Queen Looks Like!
Mary Laschinger Kirby says
I remember both queenships well, especially since mine was in the middle of that sandwich. I had the same problem with my sorority sisters laughing at the Yamboree, but going on forever about their debutant balls.
Phebe Phillips says
I know…I had the same experience! Well, it was a big honor, and I am thrilled to be the Yam Queen for my year.
Katie Heard Roy says
You were also the first to wear a red dress too. So wonderful to have someone who added color!! Hope you and your mom are doing well.
Phebe Phillips says
Everything is perfect over here! Thank you for those kind words. Happy Thanksgiving.
Kay Reeves-Ledbetter says
Here’s a little secret that my mom shared with me about making yam pies , when you are combining all your ingredients with your mashed yams mix everything together in the blender or food processor and it will take all the strings out of the pie and it will be really smooth. My mom Faye Reeves was the grand champ winner several times when I was little and I remember how we would have rush to be at the judging. Fun times
Phebe Phillips says
Thank you so much for sharing this tip, and from a Grand Champion Winner of the Sweet Potato Pie Contest. I will do this next time I make one.
Much love, ~~ Phebe
Nancy Williams Sawyer says
Oh how I loved being Yam Queen XXX
Friends still love to ask me about when I was queen. When I became queen, it was the first for sisters to both be queens.
Phebe Phillips says
What a wonderful experience it was! I loved every minute of it.
Lyle is using your crust receipe as I write this. Loved the pics
Phebe Phillips says
Wonderful…go Lyle! Message me if you have any questions. Here’s a tip; when wrapping the flattened dough into the plastic wrap to chill, pull a large piece of plastic. It makes it easier to roll out when the top of the dough is covered in the plastic. The dough doesn’t stick to the rolling pin, and it seems to be smoother.
Happy Thanksgiving, and much love to you both ~~ Phebe