Last updated on May 22nd, 2023
Southern sweet potato pie recipe is made with fresh roasted sweet potatoes, bourbon and molasses. It’s topped with a sugary, crunchy praline pecan topping.
Oh, the sweet potato pie. When compared to its more popular counterpart– pumpkin pie — it’s like the red headed stepchild of Thanksgiving dessert. But why?
If you’ve never lived in the South, you’ve likely never heard of sweet potato pie. Well, that is until a couple year’s ago when Patti LaBelle started selling Patti Pies from a certain big box discount store.
What’s the hype?
While pumpkin pie might be the respectable head of the family, sweet potato pie is the soulful little Southern sister. The consistency is lighter and more velvety. A little sweeter. Because it’s made from fresh sweet potatoes rather than canned pumpkin, the spices seem to shine a little brighter.
How to Make Southern Sweet Potato Pie Filling
First you want to start with cooked and mashed sweet potatoes. This can be done quickly and easily in the microwave. Be sure to cut a few slits in the potatoes to allow steam to vent. Then microwave on high for seven minutes. Turn them over, and microwave for an additional seven minutes. You should be able to easily slide a fork in and out of the sweet potato with no problem. This is called “fork tender.”
You’ve heard the term “hot potato?” Be careful when handling … you don’t want to burn yourself. Let the potatoes cool enough until you can safely handle them. Then cut them open and scoop out the flesh into a large mixing bowl. Add two tablespoons of softened, unsalted butter. It’s okay if your pie filling is lumpy.
In a smaller, separate bowl, whisk together three large eggs and two egg yolks with some sugar, nutmeg, and salt. Add two tablespoons of bourbon, along with molasses, vanilla, a little milk and brown sugar. Once this is combined, gradually stir the egg mixture into sweet potatoes until it is well combined.
How to Make the Praline Topping
Pralines are a popular candy in the South, commonly found in and around New Orleans. It’s made from nuts and caramelized sugar. The praline topping on this pie is kind of its crown jewel. It’s super simple to make and adds a sweet, crunchy texture. Simply whisk together 1/4 cups of room temperature butter with 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup of chopped pecans. Set aside.
And Now to Assemble the Pie
Once you’ve whisked together your pie filling and praline ingredients, you’re ready to put this pie to bed. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Pour the sweet potato filling into a pie crust. Sprinkle the praline topping over the top. The flour we added to the praline mixture will allow it to float on top of the crust. Carefully place it in the oven and bake for 45 minutes until the pie is no longer wobbly in the center.
I do recommend checking on your pie about halfway through baking, however. It’s common for pie crust to burn before the pie is finished baking. If you notice your crust is becoming too browned, you can place one of these nifty pie crust shields over the top to protect it, of you can wrap the crust in strips of aluminum foil and continue baking for the duration.
Once the pie comes out of the oven, you’ll want to allow it to come to room temperature before serving. Leftovers should be stored in the fridge and are good for up to five days. Add a little homemade whipped cream on top and you’ve got yourself a little slice of heaven.
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Praline Pecan Southern Sweet Potato Pie
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
- 3 large eggs
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2/3 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- Whipped cream optional
- 1 pie crust*
- 1/4 cup of pure butter softened at room temperature
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup of chopped pecans
For the filling:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut several slits into the sweet potatoes. Place potatoes in a microwave-safe casserole dish. Cook on high for seven minutes. Turn potatoes and cook for an additional seven minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Allow to cool until potatoes can be handled.
- In a small, separate bowl, mix together praline ingredients. Set aside.
- Cut each potato in half and scoop out the flesh. Discard the skins. Add butter to potatoes and mash using a fork. You will have some small lumps.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, yolks, sugar, nutmeg, and salt. Add bourbon, molasses, vanilla, milk and brown sugar. Gradually stir the egg mixture into sweet potatoes until combined.
- Pour sweet potato mixture into pie shell. Carefully sprinkle praline mixture over filling (it will float in on the top of the filling). Bake the pie for approximately 45 minutes or until center of pie is no longer wobbly. If the crust begins to brown too quickly, cover the crust with strips of aluminum foil.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Serve pie with whipped cream if desired.
- Refrigerate leftovers.