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Nov 26, 2013

Sisters Sweet Potato Pie

Harriet Bellamy, my first cheerleader

Harriet Bellamy, my first cheerleader.

One of my favorite things to cook is Sweet Potato Pie. I observed my oldest sister cooking as a I grew up. When I had my own family, it became a tradition for me call Harriet on Thanksgiving morning to remind me what to put in the pie. When she died, I was at a loss – finding myself dialing her number in 2004. Of course, she didn’t answer but she guided me just the same. I miss her dearly and I am thankful in this season of gratitude for what I call Sisters Sweet Potato Pie.

We grew up peeling and boiling the sweet potatoes. However, as with many of my cooking techniques, I have changed things up a bit to get the most nutritional and taste value possible. With any root vegetable, baking concentrates and deepens the flavor, retains more nutrients as well as brings out the natural sugars. When I first started doing this one sister was surprised because I was doing it differently than mama did. But once she tried it, she said, “You know Rhonda, this does taste better.” We laughed recalling how we loved having baked sweet potatoes fresh from Uncle Bro’s farm. They were a real treat, served with butter and a little bit of cinnamon and brown sugar.

Once I was helping my play brother Greg wife make pies at her house. His mother, a well-seasoned cook raised an eyebrow when I put the potatoes in the oven. She couldn’t help herself saying, “Chile, what you doing – thought you was making Sweet Potato Pies?” Politely I said, “I am, this is the way I do it. Think, what would you rather have, a baked potato or a boiled potato?” Musing for just a moment, she smiled – kinda of. I knew she was still skeptical . . . Her son and I have a standing agreement: If he’s within two hours of my house (he lives out of state) he can call and I’ll have a Sisters Sweet Potato Pie ready for him.

Sisters Sweet Potato Pie
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A family favorite throughout my childhood. Developed with my own twists, recorded for posterity honoring the life and memory of my dearly departed sister, Harriet Bellamy. This Sweet Potato Pie has a fresh, smooth and fragrant flavor. It's like eating a baked sweet potato wrapped in a flaky crust.
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Serves: 16 servings
  • (makes 2 pies)
  • 6 medium sized sweet potatoes
  • 2 deep dish pie crusts (unbaked)
  • 2 large oranges (or enough for ½ cup fresh juice and 1 tablespoon of orange zest)
  • 1 ½ cups organic natural sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick of butter
  • ½ teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup half and half
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Smidgen of almond extract
  1. First thing first – don’t skimp on quality ingredients. Get real butter, juicy oranges, fresh spices and true extracts – not imitation flavorings. You want a party in your mouth and that starts out with the best ingredients for the best results.
  2. Purchase potatoes that are about the same size so that they will bake at the same rate. Wash (do not peel) and bake in a 400° oven for 45 minutes or until a baking probe is easily inserted and removed.
  3. Baking Sweet Potatoes

    Baking Sweet Potatoes

  4. In the meantime, gather remaining ingredients. Roll oranges on counter to extract more juice. Using a zester (I love Microplane) remove only the top layer of the peel to yield 1 tablespoon. Cut orange in half and juice to yield ½ cup. As children, we always loved waiting in the kitchen for the leftover oranges. Such a treat!
  5. Allow potatoes to cool for easy handling. Peel and place in a large bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low speed to begin to break up the potatoes. Add butter, sugar, salt and eggs. Mix well on medium speed. Add freshly squeezed orange juice and zest, half and half, vanilla and almond (just a smidgen) extracts, cinnamon and nutmeg, beat on medium-high speed to mix thoroughly as in cake batter – this makes the filling light and eliminates any remaining lumps.
  6. Pour into crusts and bake at 350° for 50 minutes, making sure the center is set.
  7. Sisters Sweet Potato Pies

    Sisters Sweet Potato Pies

  8. If additional cooking time is needed, loosely cover pies with foil (simply place a sheet on top) to prevent crusts from over-cooking and cook for an additional 5 – 10 minutes. The pies will puff up similar to a soufflé and settle down as it cools.
  9. Turn off oven and let pies rest in the oven for 5 minutes. Mama always called this the soaking time, allowing the flavors to meld from the bottom to the top. Remove from oven and allow to cool – serve warm.
  10. So YumMe Sisters Sweet Potato Pie

    So YumMe Sisters Sweet Potato Pie

I hope you enjoy my Sisters Sweet Potato Pie and are inspired to start your own sharing and cooking tradition with loved ones.

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  • Felisa

    This sounds wonderful, Rhonda . I can’t wait to try it.

wife, mother, sister, friend. Business owner, writer, photographer. Yes, it's a lot but life is full of opportunites and we should take full advantage of them.
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