Sweet Potato Pone With Cardamom Whipped Cream

This recipe has all the flavors of a classic sweet potato pie, with less prep.

Sweet Potato Pone
Photo: Photographer: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Matthew Gleason; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hrs 30 mins
Servings:
8

Even if you've never tried this concoction, you're likely familiar with its flavors. Similar to a sweet potato pie, sweet potato pone features warm spices along with the addition of molasses, which gives depth. The potatoes are shredded (rather than cooked and mashed); we recommend using the smallest hole on your grater to get this job done—it will require a little bit of elbow grease but will yield a more pleasant texture.

Origins of Sweet Potato Pone

Adrian Miller, James Beard Award-winning food writer and American culinary historian, traces the dish's history back to indigenious groups of North America. The Algonquian people used the words 'poan' and 'appoan' to describe foods that were roasted or baked in the ashes of a fire. Often it referenced an eggless bread made of cornmeal, salt, and water or oil to bind it. It would later become known as 'pone' in English, but when used in reference to sweet potatoes, it meant a spiced pudding instead of a quick bread.

Sweet potato pone dates back to the mid-1800s, although it was often called "pudding," a term used interchangeably for this dessert. Miller found that one of the earliest documented sweet potato pone recipes was in the legendary 1847 cookbook The Carolina Housewife by Sarah Rutledge. The recipe combined sweet potatoes, butter, ginger, milk, orange peel, and sugar in a shallow dish and was cooked in a slow oven. Pone recipes that appeared in newspapers during the late 19th-century started to call for either grating or mashing the sweet potatoes, much like our recipe does.

Ingredients for Sweet Potato Pone With Cardamom Whipped Cream

Sweet potato pone is made with a lot of baking basics, but it also includes a few ingredients that it wouldn't be the same without.

Cardamom
Sure, you could top this sweet potato pone with plain whipped cream, but the warm, complex, and fragrant notes of cardamom help make this dessert extra special. A little cardamom goes a long way, so while 1/4 teaspoon may not seem like much, it's plenty to give the topping an earthy aroma and sweet flavor.

Molasses
We often think of this ingredient when making gingerbread, but this bittersweet byproduct of the sugar refining process adds a depth of flavor to desserts that white or brown sugar alone can't. In fact, molasses is what gives brown sugar its caramel-like flavors, as it's what is folded into refined sugar to make it brown.

Heavy Whipped Cream
When it comes to whipped cream, you really do need heavy whipping cream. You might also see regular whipping cream sold at the grocery store, and while you can make whipped cream with it, it's much lower in fat. Heavy cream's higher fat content helps make a sturdier whipped cream that holds its shape longer than whipped cream made from plain whipping cream.

How To Make Sweet Potato Pone With Cardamom Whipped Cream

Easier than pie, this custard-like sweet potato dessert comes together in three easy steps.

Step 1. Prepare the pone

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate with butter. While the oven preheats, whisk together the sugar and eggs in a large bowl. Add the next seven ingredients, and whisk once more to combine. Fold in the shredded sweet potato until completely incorporated.

Step 2. Transfer to the pie plate and bake

Pour the sweet potato mixture into the prepared pie plate and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake for 45 minutes, then uncover and return it to the oven to bake until the edges are browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Let the pone cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.

Step 3. Make the cardamom whipped cream

Place heavy cream in a bowl, and beat with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cardamom and vanilla; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve on top of a warm or room temperature pone. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

Editorial contributions by Alana Al-Hatlani.

Ingredients

Pone

  • ½ cup granulated sugar

  • 3 large eggs

  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pie plate

  • 2 tablespoons molasses

  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

  • .5 teaspoon ground ginger

  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • 1 ¾ lb. (about 3 small) sweet potatoes, peeled and finely shredded (about 6 cups)

Cardamom Whipped Cream

  • ¾ cup heavy whipping cream

  • ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

  • .25 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Directions

  1. Prepare the Pone: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate with butter. Whisk together sugar and eggs in a large bowl. Add heavy cream, melted butter, molasses, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, ginger, and nutmeg; whisk once more to combine. Fold in shredded sweet potato until completely incorporated.

  2. Pour sweet potato mixture into prepared pie plate; cover with aluminum foil, and seal edges. Bake, covered, in preheated oven 45 minutes. Uncover and bake until edges are browned, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove to a wire rack, and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

  3. Prepare the Cardamom Whipped Cream: Place heavy cream in a bowl, and beat with a hand mixer on medium-high speed until soft peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes. Add cardamom and vanilla; gradually add powdered sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve Pone warm or at room temperature topped with whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate any leftovers.

Updated by
Alana Al-Hatlani
Alana Al-Hatlani
Alana Al-Hatlani is an Assistant Food Editor at Southern Living where she works with the Deputy Editor to plan and write monthly print food features and stories. Before joining Southern Living, she worked as a baker in restaurants and bakeries. From cakes to cookies and everything in between, she spent 4 years covered in flour dreaming up desserts. In addition to baking, Alana has written about food for various outlets like Bon Appetit, Eater Seattle, Saveur, and Fodor's Travel.Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Alana graduated summa cum laude from New York University with a degree in journalism and a minor in food studies. She then went on to graduate from the Seattle Culinary Academy with a diploma in pastry arts. She now lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her partner and pup. When not writing, she is probably baking and vice versa.
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