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Leslie Brown's Sweet Potato Pie


Sweet potato pie was likely developed by African-American slaves from traditional African cuisine, making it a staple of soul food today. Printed recipes for this pie date back to the 18th century. African Americans I have known learned to make this wonderful holiday treat from their grandmothers or great-grandmothers. When I asked for their recipes I got them on the back of an envelope or on a napkin written from memory. Each recipe varied very little. This recipe is very special to me, because itt was given to me by one of my Girl Scouts, Leslie Brown. Leslie is now 27 years old, living in Houston, Texas expecting her first baby next month. It tastes like pumpkin pie but I think it is better!

For class this week, the SproutChefs made a mini version to take home to bake in their own ovens. For a family size pie, Leslie's recipe is below.

Leslie Brown's Sweet Potato Pie

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium cooked 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 pure 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 (recipe below)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

  2. Bake sweet potatoes for 1 hour in the oven on a baking sheet. When done, let cool.

  3. Scrape the pulp out of the skin, transfer to a large bowl, and mash. Set aside.

  4. In a medium bowl, beat together butter, sugar, and brown sugar until creamy.

  5. Add eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice and salt.

  6. Add evaporated milk and stir mixture into sweet potatoes. Beat together with mixer until smooth and pour into an unbaked pie shell.

  7. Bake on bottom rack of oven for 1 hour or until center of pie is firm.

For class the SproutChefs used a pie crust mix. I did this due to our limited time. Of all the crusts I have ever used my favorite is the simple Crisco recipe that was printed on the back of the Crisco can way back when my great-grandmother made pies. The recipe is below.

Crisco's Single Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/3 cups flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup Crisco

  • 3-6 tablespoons ice cold water

Directions:

  1. Using two knives or a pastry knife, cut the Crisco into the flour and salt. Cut it in until the the mixture is crumbly.

  2. Put in 3 tablespoons of the cold water and mix gently. Add a tablespoon at a time until it can form a ball. Do not over mix, as the dough will be come tough and not flakey.

  3. Roll the dough into a thin circle and place in the pie pan.

  4. Flute the edges or use a fork to press the edges.

  5. Bake at 450 degrees F for 7 minutes. Cool before putting in the filling.


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