“Not too sweet” sweet potato pie (or yam pie) recipe

I was so confused on Friday.  I had volunteered to bring a dessert to an International Potluck dinner at a friend’s house that night.  Since I was born and raised in America, I decided to bring sweet potato pie, a southern favorite. I remember what “Big Ma”/ my southern fake grandmother used to put in her pies, so I found this popular Sweet Potato Pie recipe on Allrecipes.com that seemed the closest to my childhood memories. My initial plan was to bake the recipe “as is”.  One of my life mottos is “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” However, I ended up changing it up quite a bit to save time and because the original recipe was twice as sweet as my family likes our sweet potato pies. The resulting pie was a hit…so much so that my family asked me to make a second one for a family gathering on Sunday.

Anyway, let’s get back to my confusion. Friday was full (nothing new!) so I made a quick run to the grocery store to get the ingredients for the pie. I couldn’t find any sweet potatoes…only yams.  I thought, “Oh no, I’m going to have to buy sweet potatoes in a can. That is going to ruin my pie!”  So, I went over to the canned vegetables.  I became even more confused. The cans with “sweet potatoes” had yams as ingredients and the cans titled “yams” had sweet potatoes as the ingredients (?!)  I really don’t remember having this type of shopping dilemma down south. In any event, I was running out of time, so I decided that the two terms are used interchangeably up north so I went back to the fresh yams and bought some of them. I was feeling great about my decision until I came home. Reggie commented that he didn’t think that yams were sweet potatoes either.  At this point, I was like “Whatever. I’m making a sweet potato/yam/whatever pie…and that is that!”

In any event, whatever it was – a sweet potato pie or a yam pie – turned out great.  I took 30 minutes off the cooking time by microwaving rather than boiling the sweet potatoes and  used a masher rather than an electric mixer for easier clean up.  Also, even though sweet potato pie is “soul food”, I don’t like it to be too heavy or sweet.  As such, I used 1/4 less butter; 1/2 the sugar and 1/2 the milk of the original recipe. It still turned out sweet and delicious.  (I’m a “taster” – I taste as I go in order to make sure that the dishes f it my family’s tastes.)


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  1. Yum, sounds delish — might be fun for Thanksgiving!

  2. Kimberly Coleman says:

    Thanks Nancy. It smells and tastes wonderful too!

  3. You are hilarious but at the end I agree with you whole-heartedly. I didn't know there was a difference in the yams until my girlfriend gave me the 411 on it just recent. I am not much of a sweet tooth and I tend to adjust the amount of sugar and sweetness to any dessert I make. I will definitely be making this for Thanksgiving since it's on my menu list for my first ever Thanksgving Dinner. Excited but nerves! I usually the one going out and not the one cooking the big feast for that day. Wish me luck!

  4. Kimberly Coleman says:

    It’s so easy to make. I’m sure that yours will be delicious!

  5. wikipedia says:

    Although the softer, orange variety is often called a yam in parts of North America, [this is true where I am] the sweet potato is botanically very distinct from the other vegetable called a yam, which is native to Africa and Asia and belongs to the monocot family Dioscoreaceae. To prevent confusion, the United States Department of Agriculture requires sweet potatoes labeled as “yams” to be labeled also as “sweet potatoes”.

    I think it’s fair to say I haven’t seen a true ‘yam’ in stores (or at least not noticed). Especially considering this photo (from wikipedia’s yam entry):


    Anyway, I’m going to give your pie a recipe regardless of its name. :)

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