Keep in mind that a sweet potato pie is easy to make and you can’t ruin it. This is a economical recipe that is light. My recipe was taught to me when I was a child by someone who just made it with out measuring. So I measured everything while I made it so I could share how it is made. This is not a true southern sweet potato pie because it doesn’t have butter, evaporated milk, ton of sugar and tons of spices. It is a much lighter version.
I didn’t know sweet potato pie had butter in it until I saw Paula Dean make it. Well, I took a look at recipes on the internet and sure enough they all had some butter in them. Hmm…I thought maybe I should use some butter nut or butter vanilla extract in the pie. The person who taught me to bake pies had lived through the depression and butter, sugar and spices was conserved to stretch money. Also during WWII these items was hard to get because of rationing and disruption of spices being imported. My family has always liked it over the heavier sweeter and spicy pies. You can add more spice to taste if you like.
If you have special food needs and can’t have sugar or watching you calorie intake you may want to try this recipe. Just use your favorite sugar substitute, tasting after each little addition until it is sweet enough for you. This recipe uses very little milk and low fat milk works fine in it. If using sugar substitute you will need to add extra milk. Sugar is considered a liquid in a recipe. The filling will be a thinner batter but will bake up nice and you may need to add extra time for the center to cook.
This pie recipe is for an 8 inch pie. If you are going to make a 9 inch just start with 2 cups of mashed sweet potatoes. You don’t have to be exact with measuring the sweet potato. I used 2 medium sweet potatoes for this pie. You can use one big one for a pie. The general rule is 2 eggs for every large sweet potato. If you are going to make this from canned sweet potato or yams you use only about a half cup of sugar or less because they are canned in syrup.
I had a refrigerated pie dough crust that I needed to use up left over from the holidays. I usually make my own pie crust. I always start the pie baking on the lowest rack in my oven so the bottom isn’t doughy. Half way through the time I switch it to the middle rack. I also use a pie crust shield or foil so the edges don’t get too done and hard. I take it off half way through the baking. Every one’s oven is different, so your pies may bake better just on the center rack.
Depression Style Sweet Potato Pie
One unbaked pie shell
- 1 ½ to 2 cups of mashed sweet potato 2 eggs
- ½ to 1 cup of sugar
- ¼ teaspoon ginger
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon pinch of nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup milk (plus 2 tablespoons if making a 9 inch pie
- 1 teaspoon vanilla or butter nut vanilla
Beat eggs and mashed sweet potato until fluffy. Add sugar, spices, and salt and mix. Add milk. You should have a thick filling that will hold a soft swirl and when you run a knife through it the batter will close up and leave a soft line. Pour in pie crust and swirl the top with a knife as you smooth out the filling. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. The pie is done when a knife comes out clean. Completely cool before serving. It will be a wonderful pale yellow orange color.