Sweet Potato Pie
During the sixteenth century, Brits from Europe brought the tradition of making pumpkin pies for dessert to West Africa. The tradition was soon brought to America during slavery, where the African slaves transformed the dessert into something sweeter using yams, then sweet potatoes. Coincidentally, yams and black-eyed peas was a common food slaves were fed during the Middle Passage.
The name of the food was inconsistent at first, because the yam and sweet potato come from two different types of plants. The word yam in African dialects was either “Oyame or Yam Yam” or a few other terms with a few other meanings. Yams are monocots from the Dioscorea family. Sweet potatoes are from the Morning Glory plant family.
Sweet potato pie recipes made a cookbook debut in the 18th century. In the late part of the 19th century, Fannie Famer featured a recipe for glazed sweet potatoes in the Boston Cooking School Cookbook. Soon after, inventor George Washington Carver began to find various uses for the sweet potato, including in a candied version. He released over 100 uses for the vegetable.
As the slaves made the pie for large gatherings in celebration and as a part of family meals, the tradition has continued for family gatherings and black family reunions today.
- 1 unbaked deep dish pastry shell
- 4 medium sweet potatoes sliced, diced, cooked and peeled
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs.
- Peel and cook the sweet potatoes for 20 min. Preheat the oven 350F. In a large mixing bowl, beat the sweet potatoes with butter until smooth. Add remaining ingredients except pastry shell, mix well. Pour into pastry shell. Bake 30 minutes or till done, you can test that with a toothpick, if it comes out clean it is done.
*Arrisje’s Recipe Card. Click on the pic and save to your hard drive. Print as a 4×6 pic*