Growing up in Texas, I remember sweet potato pie always being the dessert of choice for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.  I’ve enjoyed it for years and finally decided to share the recipe along with a few tweaks from me.  The crust my mom makes uses three ingredients: flour, cream cheese and margarine.  I’ve substituted butter in my version, but the result is still great.  For the filling, the recipe calls for thee sweet potatoes.  Because they vary greatly in size, as do pie pans, you may have a bit more or a bit less filling than you need.  This part ends up being a bit of trial and error.  I always error on the side of too much filling, so I get really large sweet potatoes.

I also like to decorate my pie after I’ve baked it and I use little pastry cutters in various shapes and an extra crust recipe.  This is totally optional, but I think it really makes the pie look special.  You can usually find the pastry cutters at a housewares store or online.

Here are some of the steps.  The full recipe is at the bottom.

My mom’s crust recipe is actually really forgiving…you can easily reshape it when rolling it out.  I usually go about 2″ wider than the pie plate and then press everything in place.  Using my index finger on one hand and my thumb and index finger on the other, I create this crimping pattern.  Really easy stuff.

WayneBiteSweetPotato-RolledCrust  WayneBiteSweetPotato-CrustIn

Next I peel my sweet potatoes and cut them into 1″-2″ cubes.  These go in lightly salted boiling water for about 20 minutes until tender.
WayneBiteSweetPotato-PeelOne   WayneBiteSweetPotato-ChopAll   WayneBiteSweetPotato-Boil

Drain these guys really well and then put them in your mixer with butter.

WayneBiteSweetPotato-Drain  WayneBiteSweetPotato-AddButter

A few additions not in my mom’s original recipe are a little bourbon and the zest of an orange…I thought it just added a nice subtle extra flavor.

WayneBiteSweetPotato-Bourbon  WayneBiteSweetPotato-Zest

All the other ingredients go into the mixer until everything is nice and smooth.  Then I just transfer it to the prepared pan.

WayneBiteSweetPotato-Mixer  WayneBiteSweetPotato-Pour

Smooth everything out and place it on a baking sheet.  The key when I bake pies is to tent the entire pie with aluminum for a good part of the baking.  That keeps the crust from browning too early.

WayneBiteSweetPotato-ReadyForOven

If you want to add the pastry cut outs, then roll out a second crust and cut as many as you can.  I put them on a baking sheet and bake them during or just after I’ve baked the pie.  They only take about 10 minutes to get lightly brown.  UPDATE: I now put these pieces or other decorative elements directly on the pie filling before putting the pie in the oven and let them brown with the rest of the crust at the same time.

WayneBiteSweetPotato-Cutouts   WayneBiteSweetPotato-CutoutsBakingSheet

Once the pie is done, you can simply let it cool for a few hours before slicing.  Or, if you are adding the cutouts, you can place them on the pie while it is still warm…that way you are securing the cutouts to the filling.

WayneBiteSweetPotato-HalfAssembly  WayneBiteSweetPotato-FullAssembly

That’s all there is to it.  Hope you enjoy it!

Mom’s Sweet Potato Pie
with a few slight tweaks by her son, Wayne
The Crust (one crust)*

Ingredients:

1 – 1 1/4 cu All Purpose Flour
1/2 cu Butter
3 oz Cream Cheese

Method:

Cut butter into small cubes. Combine all three ingredients. Using your fingers, mix ingredients to form a dough.  Work it until it is smooth.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for about an hour.

After an hour, roll out dough on a lightly floured board to about 2” diameter larger than your pie pan. Transfer to your pie pan. Press into the bottom and sides and then crimp the top edge. Set aside.

The Filling

Ingredients:

1 Pie Crust (recipe above)
3 med Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cut into one inch cubes
Water
4 tbl Butter
1/2 cu Granulated Sugar
1/2 cu Brown Sugar
1 tsp Orange Zest
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/4 tsp pinch Salt
2 lg Eggs
1 tbl Bourbon
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 cu Sweetened Condensed Milk

Method:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Place potatoes in a large saucepan. Add enough water to cover potatoes by about one inch. Add about 1/8 teaspoon of salt and bring to boil. Continue to cook until tender (about 20 minutes).

Drain potatoes fully and allow to cool slightly. Mash with butter, granulated sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in orange zest, nutmeg, cinnamon and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Mix well. Add eggs, one at a time, then bourbon, vanilla and condensed milk. Mix until smooth.

Pour mixture into crust. Depending on your pie pan size and the size of your sweet potatoes, you may have a little more filling than you need. Don’t overfill the pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet. Create an aluminum “tent” to cover the pan and make it tall enough that it doesn’t touch the filling.

Place pie into oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove the aluminum and bake for about 15 additional minutes until filling is set and crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool fully, at least 2 hours, before slicing.

*If you’d like to decorate the top of the crust with pastry cutouts, then make a second crust. Roll it out thinly on a floured board. Using pastry cutters, cut multiple shapes out of the dough. Place the cutouts on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees F until just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Arrange the cutouts on top of the pie, pressing into the filling slightly so they stay in place.