Culture shock. That’s what I experienced when I first set foot onto my college campus as a lowly freshman many years ago. Here I was, a naive Mid-Atlantic girl who decided to go to school in the South. It literally took me a full month to understand what people were saying because I had never heard a real Southern drawl before. “You ain’t from around here, are ya?”
What I soon came to learn was that people in the South are very proud about their food. When asked if my family ever had barbeques, I got scoffed at when my response was yes, and we served corn on the cob, hot dogs, chicken and hamburgers. I was quickly put in my place and given the full explanation of what a real barbeque or pig pickin’ was: a whole pig that roasted for at least 12 hours and usually included sides like black-eyed peas, mac and cheese, collard greens and cornbread. My version of the backyard barbeque was called “grilling out.” Consider me schooled.
This past spring, I returned to my college town since my husband and I were attending a regional March Madness tournament game. We visited one of the area’s best barbeque joints that has been written up all over the internet and featured on several food and travel shows on TV. While at the restaurant, I was told that I had to try the sweet potato pie because it was to die for. Our waitress brought out a piece, and after I tried a bite, I thought I’d died in this Southern part of heaven. It was unbelievable.
After the trip, I went online to look for a sweet potato pie, and most of the recipes I found contained cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger or allspice – otherwise known as pumpkin pie spice. I knew that my Southern friends would give me a smackdown if I even attempted a sweet potato pie with pumpkin pie spices. So I finally found this version on Sage Trifle. The ingredients are simple so the true sweetness of the sweet potatoes comes through.
This is my contribution for November’s What’s Baking challenge, which my dear friend Kim at Just Baked is hosting. She chose pie as this month’s theme, and I was thrilled to be able to finally bake an authentic, old-fashioned, Southern sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving. Please send Kim some love and check out the round-up in early December to see what kinds of pies everyone made!
Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Pie
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup light Karo syrup
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 3 cups cooked mashed sweet potatoes
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust
- Nutmeg optional
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large bowl, cream butter, brown sugar and syrup with an electric or handheld mixer.
- Add eggs and mix until completely incorporated. Add sweet potatoes and mix well. Stir in the milk, vanilla and salt and ensure all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Pour mixture into the pie shell and bake 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Dust top with freshly grated nutmeg or freshly whipped cream if desired.