Cheryl Day’s Sweet Potato Pie

By: Hannah Lee Leidy
Sweet Potato Pie
Photographs by Angie Mosier

This creamy custard pie from Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking (Artisan Books 2021) cookbook is made with golden, baked sweet potatoes richly spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and orange zest is a staple in the South. Top the pie with the meringue topping or serve with chantilly cream. Try Cheryl Day’s extra-flaky all-butter pie crust recipe.

Photo by: Angie Mosier

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Makes 1 (9-inch) pie

  • 1½ pounds sweet potatoes
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons cane syrup
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 parbaked extra-flaky all-butter pie crust, cooled
  • Meringue topping (optional)
  • Meriunge Topping
  • 3 largs egg whites
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Special equipment: Kitchen blowtorch for meringue topping

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and position a rack in the center. Wrap each sweet potato in aluminum foil. Place directly on oven rack and bake until soft enough to pierce with a fork, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Lower oven temperature to 325 degrees, Once the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, peel and mash them. Measure out 2 cups for this recipe.
  2. In a bowl, of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl, using a handheld mixer), beat sweet potato flesh on medium speed until smooth. Remove and discard any strings from the sweet potatoes so they don’t make it into your pie.
  3. Add heavy cream, eggs, can syrup, and butter to sweet potatoes and mix until fully incorporated. Add sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and vanilla, mixing until smooth.
  4. Pour filling into prepared pie crust and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until filling is firm around the edges and the center wobbles slightly if jiggled, 40 to 50 minutes.
  5. Top the pie with the meringue, if desired: Pile the meringue on filling, making sure it touches the crust all the way around. Toast lightly with a kitchen blowtorch. The pie can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

For the meringue topping:

  1. Put the egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar in the bowl of a stand mixer (or a medium heatproof bowl), set the bowl over a medium saucepan of simmering water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water), and whisk constantly until sugar is completely dissolved and egg whites are warm to the touch, 3 to 4 minutes. The mixture should appear pale and opaque. Rub a little bit between your fingers to make sure all the sugar is dissolved; it should feel smooth, without and grittiness. Attach bowl to stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment. Add vanilla and starting on low speed, whip egg whites, gradually increasing speed to high, until meringue is glossy and forms stiff peaks, 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Excerpted from Cheryl Day's Treasury of Southern Baking by Cheryl Day (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2021.

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