Sweet potatoes possess a “superfood” reputation for the mega nutrients they contain and are widely considered one of the most healthy and versatile vegetables available for the human diet. (Sweet potatoes are also honored by a wonderful Winston-Salem, N.C. restaurant that takes their name.) I remember my Grandpa Lee Quinn always relished the opportunity to bake and eat a sweet potato with supper, correctly believing it to be a smart food choice. I have the same perspective, enjoying the sweetness of such a potato, as long as it’s not drowned in butter and brown sugar. Let’s reserve those ingredients for an occasional sweet potato pie!
I love both sweet potato and pumpkin pies, despite my opinion that they’re very similar in taste and appearance and my understanding that most of America prefers one over the other for the family Thanksgiving table. Am I the only one who thinks it’s easier to get away with making a sweet potato pie year round because pumpkin is so closely associated with fall, both for Halloween and Thanksgiving?
In our kitchen, if it’s a pie, any pie, then it’s acceptable any time!
This is our tried-and-true recipe for homemade Sweet Potato Pie. It’s called “Mama’s” because the ingredients are directly from my wife, Molly’s mother. And also because we added a twist borrowed by the famed Mama Dip’s restaurant in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. (By the way, Chapel Hill is one of the South’s great foodie towns, if you’ve never been.) “Mama Dip” boils her sweet potatoes, instead of baking them, prior to mashing. We couldn’t tell a difference in taste when we boiled our potatoes, but we did find it to be an easier process overall.
Regardless of how you cook it up, sweet potato pie is truly worthy of the old Alabama song that sings, “Song, song of the South. Sweet Potato Pie and I shut my mouth.”
Mama’s Sweet Potato Pie
1 pie crust
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes
1/3 cup melted butter
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
1. Stir all filling ingredients in large bowl.
2. Poke holes in pie crust with fork.
3. Pour filling into crust.
4. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. (#FoodieScore Pro Tip: Sometimes we make mini pies, and the baking time for this recipe is about 15 minutes for such pies in our oven.)
5. You can sprinkle a pinch of nutmeg atop each sweet potato pie either before or after baking.