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  • Chef Lisa

Thanksgiving Week

Because of Thanksgiving break, I only had two classes this week.

For Tokeneke's Cooking With Chef Lisa, the Sprout Chefs and I tested a new recipe. Together we created sweet potato pies. I will be anxious to find out next week if this recipe was a thumbs up.

Until now I had only eaten sweet potato pies from my African-American friend's kitchens. When I asked for their recipes, they could only give me oral directions. They were all taught to make this soul food staple by their mothers, who were taught by their mothers for generations. They used their instincts and particular tastes to create their own distinctive pies, and they were all good.

For the purpose of this class, I contacted one of my daughter's friends from childhood, Leslie Brown. Leslie spent a lot of time in my home while she was growing up, and I knew she could help me create a written recipe. Several days after my request, she sent me a picture of a recipe that she and her mother hand wrote from memory. They made the assumption that I knew more about soul food than I did, so with the help of the Internet and Leslie's recipe, I came up with a recipe for us beginners. I think it turned out pretty well.

When I researched the history of the pie, the origins were unclear. My guess is that the African slaves brought this dessert over from Africa, although the yam was probably used in their native country, instead of the sweet potato. If you decide that this soul food pie might fit into your holiday menu, the recipe follows.

Sweet Potato Pie


  • 4-5 medium sweet potatoes or approximately 2 cups

  • 1/2 stick butter, softened

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk

  • 1 unbaked pie crust


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

  2. Bake sweet potatoes for 1 hour in the oven and let cool.

  3. Scrape the pulp out of the skin, mash and set aside.

  4. In a bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until creamy.

  5. Beat the mashed sweet potato into the butter/sugar mixture.

  6. Add the eggs, vanilla, spices, salt, evaporated milk and beat until smooth.

  7. *Pour into a 9" unbaked pie shell.

  8. Bake on bottom rack of oven for 50 minutes, at 350 degrees F., or until center of pie is firm.

*Any of the following pie shells will work

  • Pre-made pie crust can be found in the freezer department of most grocery stores

  • The pie crust mixes can be found in the baking department of most grocery stores.

  • Homemade crust from scratch is my favorite, if there is time. I have tried many different recipes and found that the ones that call for butter are not as flakey or as good. My very favorite is the original Crisco double pie crust that my grandmother used in the 1930's. That recipe can be found on the Internet. Just google Crisco pie crust recipe.

Cookie Person Created at Hindley

Royle's Pies, Cakes, Cookies and More class made cookie families from last week. Their class is a week behind, because their class met on Election Day, when school was out. The cutout cookie recipe can be found in last week's blog.

All the Sprout Chefs made cookies to represent members of their families. I had some disappointed chefs when they did not find cat or dog cookie cutters. The next time I present this lesson, pets will be included. I apologize to all our furry family members. They are people too. All the cookies were adorable and had their own distinct personalities. I love teaching lessons where there are specific directions to follow, along with an big dose of creativity.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving break with plenty of friends and family, enjoying traditional as well as newfangled Thanksgiving recipes. My mother has been gone for a decade, but her 1960's hot cinnamon jello salad always makes it to the holiday dinner table. The recipe is dated, but when we eat it and think of her, it makes us happy. This year I plan to have a vegetarian Thanksgiving. Do I eliminate her jello salad, since jello is an animal product or not?

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