Sweet potato pie is an iconic African-American soul food dessert and a staple of Southern cuisine cherished during holidays and family gatherings. This dessert represents more than just food. It embodies tradition and evokes nostalgia. Discovering and mastering the perfect recipe for sweet potato pie, especially with a unique secret ingredient, is a valuable and rewarding endeavor for baking enthusiasts.
Black folks sweet potato pie recipe
Sweet potato pie holds a place of honor in the pantheon of Southern cuisine. For Black people cooking a holiday feast, it’d be blasphemy not to have a sweet potato pie as part of the holiday table spread!
A Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe is a cherished staple Southern dessert. Often evoking images of festive gatherings and hearty laughter around the dinner table. This beloved dessert transcends mere food to become a symbol of tradition, comfort, and the warmth of family connections.
Its spiced, creamy filling nestled in a buttery crust captures the essence of hospitality and holidays, especially during Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other special events and holiday feasts. A slice of sweet potato pie is more than just a treat. It’s a slice of home, with memories and time-honored soul food culinary practices.
Securing the perfect recipe, one passed down or tweaked to perfection, becomes a personal quest for many home bakers. Because the addition of a secret ingredient promises to elevate this classic dessert from familiar to extraordinary, making the pursuit of pie perfection not just a task but a delightful journey of discovery in the kitchen.
What are the ingredients for a sweet potato pie?
Black folks’ sweet potato pie and its ingredients originated from the adaptive culinary skills of enslaved Africans using new-world crops.
The dessert holds a special place in Black communities, signifying heritage, family, and historical pride. An essential addition to holiday menus, sweet potato pie exemplifies the heartwarming embrace of soul food at gatherings.
Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe ingredients
- Sweet potatoes – A naturally sweet pie filling with a smooth, creamy texture.
- Evaporated milk – Evaporated milk adds a velvety smoothness to the pie. (Or make this recipe with a condensed milk substitute HERE!)
- Light brown sugar – Adds a touch of sweetness with caramel-like flavor.
- Eggs – The binding agent that ensures the pie filling holds its shape.
- Butter – Adds a rich flavor that complements the natural sweet potatoes.
- Vanilla extract – For a warm and comforting balance in the flavor profile.
- Nutmeg – Adds a warm, nutty, and earthly balance to the pie’s sweetness.
- Cinnamon – Adds a comforting warmth and heat with earthy flavor.
- Salt – A necessary contrast to balance the sweet spice profiles.
- Pie crust – Elevates this dish from a sweet potato soufflé to a sweet potato pie with a simple, delicious, and flaky pie crust encasing.
A traditional sweet potato pie is a symphony of flavors, each ingredient playing a crucial role in creating the memorable taste associated with this timeless dessert. At its heart, the sweet potato, itself, is the star – smooth, naturally sweet, and earthy, delivering both texture and a comforting depth of flavor to the pie.
Enhancing the inherent sweetness of this root vegetable are brown sugar and vanilla extract, which bring a rich caramel-like note and a warm, floral aroma that echoes through each bite.
Binders like eggs serve to create the dense, custardy consistency that gives the pie its signature structure and richness.
Integral to the character of the pie are the traditional pie spices: cinnamon and nutmeg. These spices introduce an aromatic warmth and complexity, playing between savory and sweet, which can elevate the humble sweet potato to a festive treat! The cinnamon offers a sweet and woody zing, while the nutmeg adds a nutty and slightly bittersweet undertone.
Finally, a pie crust traditionally made from flour, butter, and a pinch of salt offers a flaky, buttery contrast to the rich, creamy filling, completing the sensory experience.
Together, these foundational elements create a dish that has won its place at the soul food holiday table but leaves room for a unique twist that can set one recipe apart from another (i.e., Why Black people eat sweet potato pie instead of pumpkin.)
Sweet potato pie secret ingredient
The art of crafting the perfect soul food Southern sweet potato pie has long tantalized bakers with its delectable balance of sweetness and spice. Yet, it seems something has perpetually been kept just out of reach. A missing element that catapults the flavor from merely good to genuinely remarkable!
Imagine, if you will, an unassuming, non-traditional ingredient. A silent symphony conductor works discreetly to enrich the pie’s taste, elevating the symphony of savory and sweet notes to a harmonious crescendo without stealing the show.
This culinary confidante harmonizes with the warm embrace of nutmeg, cinnamon, and brown sugar while subtly enhancing sweet potatoes’ deep, earthy essence. Unlocking a depth of flavor that whispers secrets of Southern kitchens on a gentle breeze.
The magic lies in its restraint. Its ability to intertwine with the pie spices discreetly, allowing each component to shine while offering a certain “je ne sais quoi” to the overall gustatory experience.
As the mystery lingers and your palate prognosticates, anticipate the revelation of an ingredient so transformative that it’s bound to become an indispensable ally in your holiday recipe repertoire. The secret is nearly yours; let your taste buds tingle in anticipation of its unveiling.
Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe secret ingredients
Plot twist – there are two sweet potato pie recipe secret ingredients!
- Ginger – Contributes a hint of warm, peppery kick.
- Clove – Contributes to the pie’s overall soulfulness.
What does Patti LaBelle put in her sweet potato pie?
Miss Patti uses the classics: nutmeg, cinnamon, and sugar. But her pies are missing the two soulful secret ingredients, ginger and clove!
What enhances the flavor of sweet potato pie?
It’s easy to masterfully enhance your sweet potato pie. Elevating it from Southern to soul food is as simple as adding the two secret ingredients.
Once you’ve pressure-cooked or baked and mashed your sweet potatoes, it’s time to stir in the warm embrace of brown sugar and the rich essence of vanilla extract with classic spices, cinnamon, and nutmeg already introduced.
The foundation of your pie filling is ready to welcome the clandestine stars of the show: ginger and clove that enhance the flavor of sweet potato pie.
Here is how to perfectly craft a sweet potato pie with these hidden gems:
Black folks sweet potato pie recipe instructions
As you blend these ingredients together, you’ll witness a harmonious union of flavors that’s sure to intrigue and delight!
Remember, a successful culinary adventure lies in the harmony of all ingredients, with the secret ones uplifting, not overshadowing, the delightful essence of your pie.
- Grease the pie pan – Grease a 9-inch pie pan and set it aside.
- For homemade pie crust – 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.
- Recipe pro tip – Use an Instant Pot pressure cooker to soften and peel the sweet potatoes quickly and almost effortlessly!
- Pressure cook or roast the sweet potatoes – 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 (ensure the valve is up – in the position for sealing) and pressure cook on high for 12 minutes to loosen the potato skin.
- When cooking 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.
- Drain the cooked sweet potatoes – Pour the water and sweet potatoes into a colander in the sink to drain the hot water from the potatoes.
- Peel the sweet potatoes – Once the sweet potatoes are cool to the touch, peel and discard the skin.
- Gather the potato flesh – Gather 3 cups of sweet potato flesh.
- Mix the ingredients – 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.
- Fill the pie crust – Pour the sweet potato mixture into the pie crust.
- Bake the pie – 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.)
- Let the pie cool – Allow the sweet potato pie to cool for at least 2-4 hours before garnishing or slicing.
- Optional toppings – Garnish with whipped cream and cinnamon sprinkled on top.
- How to serve – Serve this Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe warm and optionally garnish with whipped cream, and enjoy!
Black folks sweet potato pie recipes
Which one is your favorite?
Secret ingredient for sweet potato pie FAQs
Can you use purple sweet potatoes in place of regular sweet potatoes?
Yes! Have you heard about the contemporary upgrade of this classic sweet potato pie Southern treat?
Purple sweet potato pie is what we call it – and it’s still made the Black folks’ soul food way!
Can you boil the sweet potatoes for sweet potato pie?
Yes, you can. However, 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.
Can you make sweet potato pie with canned sweet potatoes?
Nothing beats fresh potatoes for this incredible Black folks’ sweet potato pie recipe. Still, you could use canned sweet potato reluctantly.
How do you thicken a sweet potato pie filling?
Asked another way, how do you stiffen a sweet potato pie?
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. Then, all that work is lost uncovering the secret ingredients!
To avoid needing to thicken the pie filling, ensure your sweet potato mixture has some texture and is not just a thin, runny purée.
How long should a sweet potato pie sit before slicing?
It’s best to let the pie cool and set for a few hours up to a whole day, making it easy to slice.
How long will sweet potato pie last in the refrigerator?
The baked and cooled pie can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
What other recipes can you make with sweet potatoes?
From sweet potato pie to candied yams, check out these best soul food sweet potato recipes HERE.
What is the tradition of sweet potato pie?
As we’ve journeyed through Southern cuisine’s rich tradition and flavors, we’ve unveiled the layers that make sweet potato pie a quintessential soul food recipe. We’ve embraced the balance of savory and sweet, the dance of spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and secret ingredients for sweet potato pie – ginger and clove.
The velvety texture of the pie filling defines this African-American family tradition. In the spirit of baking secrets passed down through generations, the secret ingredients are destined to elevate your sweet potato pie to legendary status!
With the newfound knowledge of this special culinary twist, I encourage you to roll up your sleeves, tie on your apron, and confidently wield your whisk!
Infuse your sweet potato pies with these secret ingredients that promise to deepen the flavor and delight your taste buds. Whether it’s a Thanksgiving dessert table or a Sunday soul food family gathering, your homemade pie, enriched with these innovative additions, will surely become a memorable centerpiece.
Remember, the secret ingredients are more than just an enhancement to your sweet potato pie – it’s an invitation to explore the boundless possibilities of baking.
So, go ahead. Make these secret ingredients your own, and watch a new family tradition unfold with every slice. Here’s to sweet endings and even sweeter beginnings in your baking adventures!
Did you enjoy learning about the secret ingredients for sweet potato pie?
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
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