Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potato Pie

Dorcas Annette Walker

This month the first frost will cover the Tennessean Mountains where I live signaling time to dig up sweet potatoes planted in the spring. I’ll can jars packed with chunks of sweet potatoes filling the remaining space on my pantry shelves. The glistening jars of bright orange will glow throughout the winter months enhancing all the other canned produce. So I thought I’d share some recipes this month that use sweet potatoes as a main ingredient.

Sweet potatoes originated in Central and South America, and are the sixth principal world food crop. Native Americans were growing sweet potatoes when Columbus arrived in 1492. Sweet potatoes were the main source of nourishment for early homesteaders and soldiers during the Revolutionary War. In World War I the USDA utilized sweet potato flour to stretch wheat flour in all baked goods. North Carolina produces more sweet potatoes than any other state followed by Louisiana, California, and Mississippi. Lincoln County leads the state of Tennessee in sweet potato production. Mississippi hold an annual National Sweet Potato Festival the first week in November, Kentucky has its Tater Day Festival the first Monday of April, while Gleason, Tennessee celebrates the sweet potato each Labor Day weekend with a Tater Town Special.

There are two categories of sweet potatoes: firm and soft and two varieties: pale yellow with dry flesh and dark orange with moist flesh. Sweet potatoes are members of the morning glory family and are sown by vine cuttings. Due to the rapidly growing vines little weeding is needed. Although sweet potatoes are harvested from August through October they are available year round. Like carrots sweet potatoes are storage roots.

Besides simple starches, sweet potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, protein, fiber, iron, calcium, vitamin A, C, and B6 ranking highest in nutritional value compared to other vegetables. Candied sweet potatoes represent traditional American cooking and are often served at Thanksgiving. Baked sweet potatoes are sometimes offered in restaurants today as an alternative to baked potatoes. In the Dominican Republic sweet potatoes are enjoyed for breakfast while in China sweet potatoes are often baked in large drums and sold as street food during the winter. Sweet potato fries or chips are made by deep frying in the same fashion as French fries. The sweet potato leaves are a common side dish in Taiwanese cuisine. In Korea the sweet potato starch is used to produce noodles while Hawaii has a purple sweet potato that is eaten steamed and sliced.

My Sweet Potato Pie is an ideal holiday dessert for Thanksgiving. The sweet potato filling is set off by an underlying Carmel and pecan layer and topped by a layer of cool whip, then garnished with a drizzle of Carmel and a sprinkle of pecans to make this a never to be forgotten dessert. My Sweet Potato Pie takes only about five minutes to prepare for baking and this recipe serves eight.

Sweet Potato Pie

Layer in the bottom of a 9 inch deep dish unbaked pie shell:
½ c Carmel topping
½ c chopped pecans

Beat with a mixer until smooth:
3 c cooked sweet potatoes
2 eggs
1 c sugar
1 tb orange juice
3 tb margarine
1 tsp vanilla
Pour over Carmel layer in unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350ยบ for 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool and spread on top 1 (8 oz) container of cool whip. Garnish by drizzling Carmel over the cool whip and sprinkling chopped pecans!

Weekly tip: For a quick meal or snack: poke holes into a sweet potato, wrap up in a paper towel, and microwave a couple of minutes until soft. Add butter and a scoop of brown sugar!

Dorcas Annette Walker is a published author, columnist, speaker, freelance magazine writer, and photographer from Jamestown, Tennessee. Contact her at: For more recipes check out her Creative Mountain Cookin page at:


Darius T. Williams said...

Ahhh - looks divine!


Dorcas Annette Walker said...

My 24 year old son thinks so anyway. He called and asked to invite a friend for lunch from work and both those guys were smacking their lips over my salsa and Sweet Potato Pie. I may soon have to start taking reservations- ha!

karatemama said...

Wow! These recipes look great! I really enjoy reading the stories that go along with them.

Dorcas Annette Walker said...

Thanks for your kind words, Rebecca!
Browse and enjoy!
dorcas- who needs to get her body back to the kitchen