How to Make the Classic Sweet Potato Pie
Incorporate these tips in your baking and take your favorite sweet potato pie recipe from good to great.
The cooler days of autumn tend to usher in all things pumpkin, and why not? Varieties such as Jack O’Lantern, Cinderella, Sugar, and Amish Pie pumpkins not only add interest to our fall décor but enhance our fall menus with warm, spice-filled pumpkin breads and pumpkin cheesecakes. When it comes to pie, however, the pumpkin takes a back seat to the South’s favorite tuber, the sweet potato. The classic sweet potato pie is a must-have on holiday sideboards throughout the South.
There are several reasons this top-rated recipe for Brown Butter Sweet Potato Pie became a reader favorite. One reason is that the recipe makes two pies (one for dinner and one for the freezer) and uses refrigerated store-bought pie crust. Southern bakers love to make everything from scratch, but time constraints and our own abilities (I just can’t seem to master the art of homemade pie crust!) will often lead us to choose a trusted convenience product.
Sweet potatoes are full of natural sugars. This recipe uses roasted, instead of boiled sweet potatoes. The sugars caramelize during the roasting process, lending a deeper flavor to your pie. After roasting, let the potatoes cool a bit so you can easily handle and skin them; a warm potato is easier to skin than a cold one. Mash the pulp (you may use a food processor or hand-held mixer) until it is smooth and lump free. If your sweet potatoes are at all stringy—which can happen sometimes, especially with larger sweet potatoes—you will need to pass them through a food mill or sieve.
Browning the butter (cooking unsalted butter long enough to turn the milk solids brown while cooking out any water in the butter) with spices is another special step that made this recipe so popular, as browning butter lends a deep, nutty flavor to this Southern classic dessert. After browning, blend the butter with the mashed potatoes, condensed milk, and remaining ingredients, and pour the mixture into your prepared pie crusts. Bake until the filling is slightly puffy and set, normally about 45 minutes (remember ovens vary, so your pie may not take as long, or may need more time). If the crust gets too dark before the pie is done, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
It will be difficult but try to wait an hour before slicing into the pie. You want the filling to be firm in order to cut clean slices. Top with whipped cream, ice cream, crumbled gingersnaps, or drizzle with chocolate sauce.