My father always raves about grocery-store sweet potato pie from the Publix bakery. As a homemade pie-baker, this offended my sensibilities, so I set out to research the best homemade sweet potato pie. Much to my surprise, sweet potato pie was all over the news — a strange video involving Patti LaBelle’s pie had recently gone viral. I found Patti’s recipe in the Washington Post and made it my own, using half as much sugar and twice as much love.
1 pie crust (use Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust if you don’t have a rolling pin and a food processor)
3 large orange sweet potatoes, (about 3 pounds) scrubbed
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1/4 C light brown sugar
1/4 C white granulated sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 C half-and-half
1 t cinnamon
1 t freshly-grated nutmeg
Tiny pinch of cloves
Boil the whole sweet potatoes in salted water for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender. Drain and cool, then discard the skins and put the cooked sweet potatoes in a mixing bowl. Blend with a hand-held electric mixer until smooth. You’ll need about 3 cups for the filling.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the pie crust and press it into a 9-inch deep dish pie plate, pinching the dough around the edges of the pan. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with 2 T brown sugar. Bake it just until set, 12-15 minutes. If it puffs up, don’t prick it.
Let the pie shell cool.
Meanwhile, add the melted butter, both kinds of sugar, the eggs, half-and-half, and spices to the pureed sweet potatoes. Beat with the electric mixer. Pour the filling into the pie shell and smooth the surface. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake for an hour or longer, until the center is set and a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Cool and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.