The cultural significance of sweet potato pie and its roots are deeply entrenched in the tapestry of African-American cuisine, serving as more than just a sumptuous dessert but a cultural beacon through generations.
What is the African-American history of sweet potato pie?
Black folks’ sweet potato pie ingredients beginnings trace back to the colonial era when enslaved West Africans adapted their expertise with yams to the readily available sweet potatoes on American soil.
This resourcefulness gave rise to a dish that evolved into a symbol of ingenuity and comfort amid adversity. Over time, as Black folks cemented their rightful place in American society, the sweet potato pie solidified its position as a culinary centerpiece in family gatherings and holiday feasts, particularly Thanksgiving and Christmas.
What does sweet potato pie contain?
More than just a treat, a Black folk’s sweet potato pie recipe, and its ingredients profoundly connect to Black history and cultural identity.
The pie’s significance at communal tables transcends mere taste, embodying a legacy of resilience and the shared joy of soul food.
It represents the warmth of home, the richness of tradition, and the inherited wisdom from ancestors who stirred love, hope, and endurance into every pie they made.
Sweet potato pie is not simply a dessert. It’s a cherished heirloom that narrates stories of past celebrations and communal bonds and is a testament to the persistent spirit of a people.
Ingredients for Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe
- Sweet potatoes
- Evaporated milk, ideally, or condensed milk
- Light brown sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Pie crust
Sweet Potatoes – The star of the show, sweet potatoes are rich in flavor and yield a naturally creamy texture when baked. Their inherent sweetness is the base for this indulgent dessert.
Sugar – A combination of granulated and brown sugar typically sweetens the pie. Brown sugar adds a caramel-like depth, enhancing the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes.
Butter – Unsalted butter is melted into the filling, giving the pie a luxurious, velvety consistency while contributing to its rich flavor.
Eggs – Essential for structure, eggs bind the ingredients together and help create a smooth and firm filling once the pie is cooked.
Evaporated milk: This concentrated milk adds creaminess without watering down the filling, complementing the smooth texture of sweet potato purée. (Or make this recipe with a condensed milk substitute HERE!)
Vanilla extract: A splash of vanilla extract infuses the pie with its sweet, aromatic essence, enhancing the overall flavor profile.
Spices – A fragrant blend of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove gives the pie its warm, comforting aroma and quintessential taste, tying together the sweetness with a hint of spice.
Salt – Just a pinch is enough to balance the sweetness and elevate the flavors within the pie.
Sweet potato pie crust
The foundation to any memorable sweet potato pie lies in its crust—a delicate balance of flakiness and buttery richness that sets the stage for the luscious filling. Because the pie crust is not merely a container but a crucial element that absorbs the flavors and spices of the filling. Creating a harmonious blend with every bite, paying homage to the culinary traditions that make sweet potato pie a timeless classic in African-American cuisine and Southern homes alike.
Black folks sweet potato pie instructions
Below are simple instructions for making an easy sweet potato pie recipe:
- Grease the pie pan.
- Pressure cook or roast the sweet potatoes.
- Drain the cooked sweet potatoes.
- Peel the sweet potatoes.
- Gather the potato flesh.
- Mix the potato flesh, spices, and ingredients.
- Pour the filling into the pie crust.
- Bake the pie.
- Let the pie cool.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
*See the recipe card below for a complete list of ingredients and instructions with step-by-step guided pictures.
The balance and quality of these ingredients are pivotal in creating a sweet potato pie that resonates with the heritage and palates of Black people and the way we cook.
Each component is chosen with care to contribute to a dessert that is much more than the sum of its parts but rather a symbol of tradition and cultural pride.
Selecting the right type of sweet potato is crucial to create the perfect sweet potato pie. For the quintessential pie, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, often known as yams in US grocery stores, are the go-to choice.
Their vibrant color, naturally sweet flavor, and smooth texture, when cooked, make them superior for pie recipes. However, some bakers might opt for purple sweet potatoes for a different twist in flavor and presentation!
Tips and tricks for baking the best sweet potato pie
- When selecting sweet potatoes, look for ones that are firm with no soft spots, bruises, or signs of sprouting.
- The skin should be tight and unwrinkled, ensuring the potato is fresh and will provide a concentrated flavor.
- Size can also play a role because medium-sized sweet potatoes are often the best for even cooking.
- Start by giving your sweet potatoes a good wash to clear any dirt from the skin.
- Roasting or pressure cooking the sweet potatoes is recommended over boiling or steaming, as the intense heat breaks down the starches into sugars, resulting in a sweeter and more flavorful pie filling.
- Cook them until tender through, which can be easily checked with a fork.
- Depending on how deep-dish your pie pan is, you’ll probably have leftover sweet potato mix. You can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. Or you can pour it into a Ziplock bag and freeze it for up to 3 months.
- You could also make mini sweet potato pies with any leftover pie filling.
- And don’t forget to use any leftover pie dough for the easiest Southern dessert ever – pie crust cookies!
Making the right choices when it comes to selecting, preparing, and cooking sweet potatoes will significantly impact the final taste and texture of the pie. The smoothness, sweetness, and richness are all characteristic of an authentic sweet potato pie, all dependent upon these Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe details and ingredients.
Overly fibrous or watery potatoes can yield a less desirable outcome. In contrast, perfectly prepared sweet potatoes can elevate a simple pie to a celebratory dessert that honors the culinary traditions of soul food and African-American cuisine.
Black folks sweet potato pie recipes
Which one is your favorite?
Black folks’ sweet potato pie ingredients FAQs
What are the mistakes to avoid when making sweet potato pie?
- Unlike some pie recipes, there is no need to preheat your empty pie crust for this recipe. Doing this can cause your pie crust edges to burn. Instead, use a pie crust shield.
- It’s best to let the pie cool and set for a few hours to a whole day.
- While many recipes call for adding flour for thickening, you don’t want to do this for a soul food sweet potato pie filling. It could compromise the unique Southern soul food flavors.
- To avoid needing to thicken the pie filling, ensure your sweet potato mixture has some texture and is not just a thin, runny purée.
Is it better to bake or boil sweet potatoes for pies?
Roasting or pressure cooking the sweet potatoes is recommended over boiling or steaming, as the intense heat breaks down the starches into sugars, resulting in a sweeter and more flavorful pie filling.
How do you know when your sweet potato pie is done?
A good indicator of when this pie recipe is done is when you can see the center of the pie filling puffing in the oven.
Why is your sweet potato pie runny?
Asked another way, “How do you keep pie crust from getting soggy on the bottom?”
If your sweet potato pie turns out runny after baking – don’t fret! Instead, place it back in the oven for five-minute intervals until the filling is puffed and firm in the center.
How do you get the strings out of sweet potatoes?
A blender, hand-held mixer, or electric stand mixer will round up and collect the strings on its mixer or blade, or it will dissolve them.
Can you make sweet potato pie with canned sweet potatoes?
Nothing beats fresh potatoes for this incredible Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe, but you could use canned sweet potato reluctantly.
How long should you let your sweet potato pie rest before serving?
It’s best to let the pie cool and set it for a few hours up to a whole day, making it easy to slice.
Which is better, pumpkin or sweet potato pie?
If you ask Black folks, there is no debating which one is better. The answer is always sweet potato pie – as long as it’s made the Black folks’ soul food way!
You can learn more in my post about why Black people eat sweet potato pie instead of pumpkin pie.
A Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe stands as a rich tapestry where each ingredient threads a narratfolks’ history, resilience, and joy within a culinary masterpiece specific to Black folks’ kitchens.
As our spoons break the flaky crusts and our palates are greeted with the lush, spiced filling of the pie, we are not just tasting a dessert.
Each bite is a moment steeped in a legacy passed down through generations, a testament to the hands that have carefully selected the sweetest yams, judiciously mixed the warming spices, and skillfully kneaded the dough to pie crust perfection.
To preserve the essence of traditional sweet potato pie recipes is to honor the very essence of a culture that has influenced and enriched global cuisine.
In holding true to the core ingredients—those sweet, earthy potatoes, the kiss of nutmeg and cinnamon, the rich vanilla extract, and the whispers of brown sugar—we safeguard a piece of Black history and heritage that transcends mere sustenance. These ingredients do more than create comfort food. They maintain a narrative, a culinary tradition that has a rightful place in the annals of African-American cuisine and beyond.
Did you enjoy learning about Black folks’ sweet potato pie ingredients?
Have you had it?
Would you make it?
Comment below and lemme know.
Prevent your screen from going dark
Instant Pot electric pressure cooker
Instant Pot Omni Plus oven (optional)
Instant Pot Ace Plus blender or an electric mixer
- 1 ½ pound sweet potatoes washed and scrubbed (equals about 3 cups when softened and peeled)
- 12 oz evaporated milk 1 can
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 5 tablespoons butter unsalted butter, melted (or vegan butter)
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ginger minced
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Grease a 9-inch pie pan and set it aside.
See my recipe HERE for homemade almond flour pie crust, or you can use a store-bought pie crust, dough, or pie shell that may or may not come with its own pie pan.
Pro tip: Use an Instant Pot pressure cooker to soften and peel the sweet potatoes quickly and almost effortlessly!
Open the Instant Pot lid and fill the stainless-steel inner pot with water to the ½ mark.
Add the scrubbed sweet potatoes to the pot of water.
Close the Instant Pot lid (make sure the valve is up – in the position for sealing) and pressure cook on high for 12 minutes to loosen the potato skin.
When the cooking time is finished, allow a natural pressure release for at least 12 minutes.
To open the Instant Pot lid, move the valve to ‘venting’ and manually release any remaining pressure, if applicable.
Pour the water and sweet potatoes into a colander in the sink to drain the hot water from the potatoes.
Once the sweet potatoes are cool to the touch, peel and discard the skin.
Gather 3 cups of sweet potato flesh.
Add to either the Instant Pot Ace blender or an electric mixer the sweet potato flesh, evaporated milk, brown sugar, egg, melted butter, vanilla extract, ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, ground cloves, and salt.
Pulse or mix until the ingredients are combined and smooth.
Pour the sweet potato mixture into the pie crust.
Bake the sweet potato pie at 350 degrees F: in a conventional oven for 28-30 minutes, in the Instant Pot Omni Plus oven for 24-26 minutes, or until the pie is puffed and firm in the center. (Remember that cooking appliance times and oven temperatures will vary.)
Allow the sweet potato pie to cool for at least 2-4 hours before garnishing or slicing.
Garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkled on top.
Serve this Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe warm and enjoy!
- Unlike some pie recipes, there is no need to pre-heat your empty pie crust for this Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe. Doing this can cause your pie crust edges to burn.
- A good indicator of when this pie recipe is done is when you can see the center of the pie filling puffing in the oven.
- You’ll probably have leftover sweet potato mix, depending on how deep-dish your pie pan is. You can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 48 hours. Or you can pour it into a Ziplock bag and freeze it for up to 3 months.
- You could also make mini-Black folks sweet potato pies with any leftover pie filling.
- And don’t forget to use any leftover pie dough for the easiest Southern dessert ever – pie crust cookies!
- It’s best to let the pie cool and set for a few hours up to a whole day before slicing.
Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 6g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 198mg | Potassium: 488mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 35g | Vitamin A: 12243IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 179mg | Iron: 1mg
Source link : thesoulfoodpot.com