This is the best sweet potato pie I have ever put in my mouth, in large part because of its unusual flavor.Traditionally, sweet potato pie is flavored with the same spices as its cousin, pumpkin pieâ€”cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and allspice. The surprise in this version is that it eschews the heavy, heady flavor of the â€œfall spicesâ€ for a light, lemony taste that brings to mind warm spring or summer days.
Aunt Ruth was married to one of my grandfather’s brothers, and was one of the best cooks I ever knew. Since she wasn’t able to have children, I realized that this wonderful pie was in danger of passing into history; I got the recipe from her the year before she died.
Aunt Ruth was tickled to death when the newspaper in her small town ran this recipe with a column I wrote about pies; she would be amazed to know that since I put it on my Web site in 1999, the recipe has been downloaded morethan a quarter of a million times and has been made by people from Canada to Australia to the Sultinate of Bruni, making this pie literally world famous.
For a more traditional sweet potato pie, eliminate the lemon extract and add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon each of ginger, allspice and nutmeg.
- 2 or 3 large sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds total)
- 1 stick butter
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 (14 ounce) can evaporated milk (NOT sweetened condensed)
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 2 pie crusts
In a 6-quart Dutch oven, bring 3 quarts water to a rolling boil.
Peel sweet potatoes, then cut into small pieces. Place potatoes into boiling water; return to a boil and cook until fork tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Using a potato masher or electric hand mixer, cream butter into sweet potatoes. Add eggs and milk. Combine sugar with cornstarch; add to potato mixture along with vanilla and lemon flavoring.
Pour into pie shells. Bake until center is set and top is golden brown, about 45 to 50 minutes.
Yield: 2 deep dish pies