Sweet potato pie

by Eddy Van Damme on November 23, 2009

sweet potato pie

Sweet potato Pie or Tart

Totally new for me when I arrived in America was sweet potato, pumpkin and pecan pie. It took me less than a full second to fall in love with these American classics. Since I did not grow up with these pies, they are absolutely not season bound in my head, and to me, whipping up a sweet potato pie in the summer makes as much sense as baking one for Thanksgiving. After all, if something tastes so good in the fall, why only eat it in the fall? Do we not eat turkey sandwiches year round?

Obviously I can never leave good enough alone and I decided to give this version a small face lift, slightly contemporary. If you decide to turn this into a classic pie or use a tart pan or ring, it is totally up to you. For decor I decided to poach some sweet potato strips in simple syrup and then dried them in a low temp oven until deliciously crispy. Without the fried taste and heartburn thank you very much.

blind bake tart shell

Standard pie dough, what the French call Pate Brisee, is delicious for many pies but for sweet potato, pumpkin and pecan pies, sweet tart dough works exceptionally well. Baked blind (baked without a filling) and then filled with the appropriate custard, a sweet tart dough crust holds up real good to moist custard fillings, resulting in a pie with a nice crisp crust.

sweet potato pie filling

Sweet potato pie needs to be made from fresh cooked sweet potatoes. A can will simply not do. We’re not dealing with pumpkin here. Do not waste your ingredients and money. Peel a couple of potatoes and boil them in some unsalted water. It’s done in a snap. When their fork tender, remove from water and remove the fork. Yes, eliminate the fork. The sweet potatoes need to be completely made smooth made with a blender or immersion blender. Hitting the potatoes with a fork will not get them velvety as they need to be. Otherwise, the pie will have small sweet potato pieces in them, tricking your mind your still at the main dish.

sweet potato crisps

Getting it all together!

Prepare the sweet tart dough first. You can make the dough days ahead and keep in your freezer. Remove from freezer a day before you need it and defrost in your refrigerator. You can even prebake the tart shells days ahead and keep in your freezer until you need them. This way you have these pies done at the spur of the moment. The filling can be made a week ahead to and also kept in the freezer. Defrost the two, combine the two and bake. Done!

sweet potato crisp drying

Sweet potato pie

Yield: one nine inch (22 cm) pie or tart.

  1. Roll half of the chilled sweet tart dough to a thickness of 3-4 credit cards. Line the dough in a pie or tart shell and prick with a fork on the bottom of the shell.
  2. Place in a preheated 375°F (180°C) oven until very light golden. During baking check the dough to ensure it does not fall of the sides or puffs. If it slides down press back in place. For puffing prick gently with a fork and return to the oven.
  3. When light golden brush with beaten egg white as shown in the picture to seal and protect the crust from moisture of the filling. Return to the oven for a minute or two.
  4. Cool the shell. Pour the filling in the shell and place in a 325-350°F (160-180°C) oven until the filling no longer trembles, about 40 minutes.
  5. Place in a refrigerator. Once cooled serve with crème Chantilly.

Sweet Tart Dough

Yield: Dough for 2 large pies or tarts. Freeze any unused portion for up to two months.

1 Stick + 3 Tbsp (5.5 oz) Unsalted butter                , soft 165 g
1 Cup (4 oz) Powdered sugar 120 g
1 (1) Large egg 1
1 teaspoon (1tsp) Vanilla extract 1 tsp
2 teaspoon (2 tsp) Lemon zest 10 ml
2 Cups + 2 Tbsp (10 oz) All purpose flour 300 g
  1. Mix the butter until soft and creamy. Sift and add the powdered sugar and combine well. Add the egg, vanilla and lemon zest and mix until smooth.
  2. In one step add all the flour and combine until just mixed together. Do not mix more than necessary.
  3. Press flat on a plastic food film lined cookie sheet and place in a refrigerator for 30 minutes or until cool enough to roll.
  4. Freeze any unused portion.

Sweet potato pie filling

Yield: Filling for one nine inch (22cm) pie.

1 lb (1 lb) Sweet potatoes 480 g
1 Cup, well packed (8 oz) Brown sugar 240 g
¾ Cup (6 oz) Heavy cream 180 g
¼ Cup (2 oz) Milk 60 g
1 teaspoon (1 tsp) Vanilla extract 5 ml
3 (3) Large eggs 3
1 teaspoon (1 tsp) Cinnamon 2 gram
1 teaspoon (1 tsp) Ginger 2 gram
¼ teaspoon ( ¼ tsp) Cardamom or all spice ½  gram
¼ teaspoon ( ¼ tsp) Salt ½ gram
  1. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes in even cubes. Place in a pot filled with water and cook until fork tender. Drain and press firmly in a measuring cup to obtain 1 ½ Cups or scale to obtain 12 oz (360 gram).
  2. Combine the sweet potatoes, sugar, heavy cream, milk and vanilla and blend smooth in a blender or use an immersion blender. Add the eggs and all spices and salt and blend to combine.

Crème Chantilly

Yield: 8 servings

1tablespoon (1 Tbsp) Extra fine granulated sugar 15 g
1 Cup (8 oz) Heavy cream 240 ml
1 teaspoon (1 tsp) Vanilla extract 1 tsp
  1. In a bowl whip all the ingredients to firm peak.

Sweet Potato crisps

Yield: 1 sweet potato

1Cup (8 oz) Extra fine granulated sugar 240 g
1 Cup (8 oz) Water 240 ml
1 (1) Sweet potato 1
  1. Peel the sweet potato. Using a vegetable peeler cut thin long strips of the potato.
  2. In a non reactive saucepan bring to a boil the sugar and water. Add the potato strips and turn heat to a very low simmer.
  3. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes or until the potato strips are tender and parts are translucent.
  4. Drain and place in a crinkly fashion on a Silpat. Place in a 220°F (100°C) oven for nearly one hour or until near crisp. The sweet potato crisps will become crisper as they cool.
  5. Once cooled store airtight.

modern sweet potato pie

39 comments on “Sweet potato pie

  1. Rita Alarcon on said:

    Happy Thanksgiving Chef Eddy! From Rita and Alberta.

  2. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

  3. rachel robertson on said:

    Thanks, great-looking recipes, very inspiring.

    Am just trying to make pie crust – blind baking it – but am worried it will turn out too brown when I have to cook it for 40 mins plus with (pumpkin) filling…


  4. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Rachel,
    Thank you for your question.
    Bake the pie crust until very light golden-not golden brown. Once filled with the filling place in the oven at a low temperature , 325-350°F (160-180°C) oven until the filling no longer trembles, about 40 minutes, if it takes longer, leave it in the oven. Pumpkin, sweet potato and pecan pies are essentially custards that are “set” by the eggs. These pies are always best baked at lower oven temps since a lower oven temperature will create a smooth custard. At these low oven temperatures the pie crust will not become much darker. For sure!
    All the best!

  5. Anna Moreno on said:

    Hi Chef Eddy, I hope you had a great thanksgiving. Well, thanks to this wonderful recipe, yesterday I was dressed to impress, and I’m not talking about clothing… I made your pie with a little twist, I used roasted butternut squash instead of sweet potatoes (I did not have any and I did not wanted to rush to a crowded grocery store just to get some!). The pie turned out GREAT, our hosts loved it, the delicate crust, the velvety filling, and everithig was perfect. I encourage you to try with butternut squash too. I also made your wonderful tender potato rolls (page 208 On Baking), and of course, not a single roll left.
    Thanks a lot !
    Our best, Anna

  6. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Your twist on the sweet potato pie sounds fantastic! I bet it was delicious.
    Thank you for your sweet comments and the best to all of you.

  7. Hilary Adams on said:

    Hi, Chef Eddy! Hope you had a fun Thanksgiving!!

    I always have so much fun reading your blog! I enjoyed making this recipe in class and have the sweet potatoes on hand to do this from home! I know that you made this one (in the pictures above) with a really small tart ring. What size was it? And how many individual pies (roughly) would one time the recipe fill? Thanks, because I really like the idea of the individual servings… ;0)

    See you Tuesday!

  8. Diana Wallace on said:

    Everyone loved this! I will be making it again for the holiday’s!

  9. Hi Eddy,

    I applaud your efforts to update this rustic classic, Bravo! Loved the idea of candying some sweet potato for decoration and the result is very elegant.

    I grew up in the Deep South and we always had a Sweet Potato Pie for the Thanksgiving holidays. Only one thing I would suggest for the future is to try the pie filling without any additional spices except perhaps for vanilla and/or lemon zest. Some would argue, and I agree, that the addition of cinnamon, ginger, all spice, etc. make this pie taste too much like Pumpkin Pie. I love pumpkin pie, too, but the subtle soft flavor of the sweet potatoes is lost when too many spices compete. Anyway, it’s just a suggestion.

    Your site is wonderful, by the way. It’s educational and I’m truly enjoying it. Thanks.

  10. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi John,

    Thank you kind comments.
    I’m planning to weave some “trouble shooting” segments into my articles pretty soon.
    All the best, Eddy.

  11. This is a one of the good pies that I like. There are more than just one sweet potato variety. I can eat this pie very quick and simple. Yummy…

  12. Nikki Batiste on said:

    I really like your interpretation of a childhood favorite. My parents have made this for years, but your rendition would certainly make an impression on everyone at thanksgiving. I was also curious about the baking process for the dough, should it blind baked or not?

  13. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Indeed, the crust needs to be blind baked to obtain a well baked crust.
    All the best, Eddy

  14. Hey Chef Eddy!

    Can you swap out pumpkin for the sweet potato in this recipe?


  15. Eddy Van Damme on said:

    Hi Dagny,
    Sure you can. In case of sweet potatoes I do prefer using fresh over canned.

  16. Thanks! I am going to try this today with pumpkin!

  17. Hey Chef Eddy! All the pies turned out great! I sold 40 of them for Thanksgiving. Everyone loved the corn syrup free pecan pie. I also did a variation of your pecan pie recipe…German Chocolate pecan pie using the chocolate tart dough, toasted coconuts and pecans, and chocolate. So yum. Thanks for the great recipes!!!


  18. Savanna Cunningham on said:

    I know what I’m making this Thanksgiving! I never thought about making a sweet potato tart before, do you prefer the tart shell better over a pie shell ? does the tart shell hold better?

  19. Ben Davenport on said:

    What a wonderful combination of ingredient, Cinnamon, Ginger and Cardamon to add unforgettable flavor to this pie.

  20. Marissa Astrich on said:

    Chef Eddy,
    This sweet potato pie sounds wonderful! I think I will try making it for my family on Thanksgiving. Do you have any tips on making them miniature? Would it work if I baked them in a cupcake pan? Thanks!

  21. Ben Davenport on said:

    Chef Eddy,

    I noticed that you use the standard pie dough for this creation, would the almond tart dough work for this as well?

    Ben Davenport

  22. Yesenia Garcia on said:

    Chef Eddy,
    All of the ingredients in this pie are amazing, I can almost taste it. The presentation with the potato strings and the creme chantilly , astonishing!!!! Happy Holidays…

  23. jessica raymond on said:

    you’re right! why have sweet potato pie at thanksgiving… and with the sweet tart crust adds a lightness that could contrast the denseness that sweet potatoes can have.

  24. Mark Holley on said:

    Another southern classic I grew up eating. I love sweet potato pie over pumpkin. I wonder if baking the sweet potato vs boiling it will yield the same results?

  25. shaun fenton on said:

    Oh man, if i knew about this sweet potato pie recipes, i would not have to buy one at the store and i’d would save my money.

  26. Tikishia Jenkins on said:

    Chef Eddy-

    Wow Chef – Now I see what you mean when you say think outside the box, the creme Chantilly and the Sweet Potato crisp is way out of the ordinary . Sweet potato I have loved while, but have only tried it using regular pie crust. I cant wait to make this one for my family. Thanks..

  27. OLÁ !!!

  28. Yvonne Davis on said:

    Hey Chef Eddy I was wondering if you could substitute nutmeg for the Cinnamon, ginger, cardamom an still have the same taste.

  29. Heather Buck on said:

    Chef, Just wanted to say I love this sweet tart dough recipe! I was making a rustic cherry tart and stumbled upon your recipe for this tart dough. I altered it slightly however using 50% whole wheat and
    50 % AP flour. I also used orange zest in stead of lemon (although I am sure lemon is great I didn’t have any on hand) .. it was delicious! Like an orange shortbread cookie crust! Thanks again!

  30. valerie alexander on said:

    I love all the flavors in this tart and especially the crust

  31. Holly Josey on said:

    I made this for thanksgiving and my family loved it.

  32. mona robinson` on said:

    You are right, sweet potato pie shouldn’t just be eaten on Thanksgiving. I love sweet potato pie and can eat it year round. It’s a must in my family, but you can’t miss me with sweet potato anything.

  33. Amy Taylor on said:

    I used to never touch sweet potato pie until I realized it is almost the same as pumpkin pie! They have a lot of similarities and I love them both!

  34. Holly Josey on said:

    I used this recipe to make a sweet potato pie but instead of using all purpose flour i used almond flour and it turned out really good.

  35. Twyana Jackson on said:

    I have made sweet potato pies for many years. However I have not ever made my own shell. Making a tart would be different for me and trying your recipe and for the creme chantilly and sweet potato crispy crisp will be a classy twist. I am looking forward to giving this a try.

  36. Aybars on said:

    Chef Eddy,
    I think these recipes are the best use of sweet potatoes. I have never tasted a sweet potato pie but it looks like they have a distinctive flavor.

  37. I thought this pie was very good. If I make it at home, I will probably bake the sweet potatoes in the oven first and then scoop the cooked potatoes out of the skin to make the pie to save time. This is how I usually make candied sweet potatoes for the holidays, and since the filling of the pie is pureed, I’m hoping it won’t change the results.

  38. John Foisy on said:

    I was surprised to learn that the pumpkin filling that come in a can isn’t pumpkin , it’s a squash, because pumpkin does no have much taste. Sweet potatoes have such a soft taste and texture.

  39. Eileen Mier on said:

    This pie we made in class the week before Thanksgiving was lovely. I usually am not particularly fond of sweet potato pie because so many of the ones I’ve had were a bit heavy handed with the spices. The flavors in this recipe were balanced nicely.

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