Down south we do love our sweet potatoes. Most restaurants (if they know whats good for them!) serve some form of sweet potatoes as a side dish. Steak houses offer them in place of a baked potato and bring them wrapped in foil, cracked open with steam rising out and a large pat of butter already melting into a generous spooning of brown sugar and cinnamon.
No, its not a dessert, its a side dish. Sure they usually have a nice brown sugar coating and yes they may taste like a dessert, but sweet potatoes are a side dish. They are, after all, a vegetable, are they not?
See how smart we are in the south?
We call it a side dish and then still get to eat dessert at the end!
I have several very well loved sweet potato recipes, so you haven’t seen the last of orange food on this site! Growing up, my mother made us sweet potato pie covered in toasted marshmallows. I still love that. I’ve also added my own recipes for sweet potato cake with a thick coconut frosting and one of my dazzler recipes, Sweet Potato Creme Brulee. Still, to be completely honest, NOTHING tastes as good as THIS sweet potato recipe!
Today I’m going to show you how to make my grandmother’s recipe for Sweet Potato Pie, often referred to as Sweet Potato Casserole. I think folks are confused as to whether it is a pie or a casserole since it doesn’t have a crust. However, I’ve lived here for thirty some odd years and I have never once seen a sweet potato pie which actually had a crust. I have to admit though, I don’t know what the heck to call this. Technically, it is made in a pie plate so I am going with pie on this one. I’ve even heard Grandmama go back and forth. The name is gonna be your call entirely then. Sweet potato pie, sweet potato casserole, this dish by any other name would taste as sweet!
Two things I ask of you.
1. Please don’t call it a yam. I promise you, its not a yam. Its a sweet potato. The sweet potato is very distantly related to the yam, but it is most certainly not a yam. Why do folks call it a yam? Do they think it sounds better or something? Y-A-M. Nope, I think it sounds weird. Yam is a strange word anyway. Sweet Potato. Now, doesn’t that sound ….well, sweet? Sweet Potato. Always makes me think of Toy Story 2 when Mister Potato Head was being affectionate with Mrs. Potato Head and he said “You’re my little sweet potato!”
Another interesting point is that those sweet potatoes you buy were most likely grown right here in the US. North Carolina provided more than 38% of the United States sweet potatoes in 2007, California 23%, Louisiana 15.9%, and Mississippi 19%!
The Yam grows in tropical climates, primarily South America, Africa, and the Caribbean, and can reach as long as seven feet. As much fun as I’d have cooking with a seven foot long sweet potato, it would never happen, because that would be a yam.
UPDATE 2011- Call it a yam if ya want. I have no idea why I felt this was important in 2008. That was back when I still had time for opinions on silly things like whether or not sweet potatoes were called by their rightful names
2. Please, unless you really really have to, don’t use that canned mess. Alright, I’d break my own rule here if time were an issue. Well, maybe not. I’ve never used canned sweet potatoes. I hope I never do and the main reason is if you used canned sweet potatoes, you can’t have the fun of eating a slice raw while you cook them! YUMM! Keep in mind that the person who is telling you not to used canned sweet potatoes is the same person who runs through margarine and cake mixes like they were air. So if you want to use canned, if that will crank your tractor and get you to make this recipe, by all means do. Just don’t go bragging about it, we can pretend you used fresh and you can have a slice of raw sweet potato some other time…….~sigh~…but you’re really missing out. ~sniff~ ~sniff~.
UPDATE 2011 – I baked something with canned sweet potatoes last week. It was very different from using fresh but in the interest of full disclosure I just want you to know that I have completely gotten over myself here ~rolls eyes at her 2008 self~
Now on to our recipe!!!
I also used a tsp of cinnamon, because I LOVE cinnamon in my sweet potatoes!
I can here her now, “Here, now get on out of here so I can finish!”
If you kept pestering her though, she’d give you another slice :).
Cook them until they fall apart when pierced with a fork.
It is important to mix while you add the eggs or else the hot sweet potatoes might cook them up and you’d have little bits of cooked egg in your pie and thats …ewww.
While that is baking, prepare your topping.
I was feeling lazy so I just broke them up with my fingers as I added them.
Grandmama did us right here, she gave us PLENTY of topping!!
Grandmama’s Sweet Potato Pie
- Sweet Potatoes:
- 1 C sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Stick Margarine
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
- 3.5 oz sweetened flaked coconut
- 1 C Brown Sugar
- 1 Stick Margarine
- 1 C Flour
- 1 C Pecans
- Peel and slice sweet potatoes. Place in pot and cover with water until fork tender. Drain well and place in mixing bowl. Add margarine and beat until smooth. Add eggs, one at a time, while the mixer is going. Add vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon, mix well. Toss in Coconut and blend. Place in pie plate and bake at 350 for twenty minutes.
- For topping, Stir together flour and brown sugar, breaking up any lumps. Cut in margine. Stir in pecans. Spoon or sprinkle on top of sweet potato pie. Return to oven and continue baking at 350 until golden, about thirty to forty minutes.