The Kitchen Witch

Sweet Potato Pie: How Not to Make it!


Okay, I’ve really been off my game lately. I’ve been traveling a lot and I haven’t been doing a lot of cooking – I’ve been eating a lot of salads and quick pasta dishes or beans and rice – things I can whip up in a jiffy. But I got home from visiting my son and my elderly parents the other day in Buffalo and I thought that I would make something different – I had some yams that needed to be used, so I thought, oh, I’ll make a Sweet Potato Pie.

If you have heard of “Granny Moon’s Morning Feast” either on WordPress or through Yahoo Groups, then perhaps you have heard of a mailing she does called “Why Spells Don’t Work”. There’s a variety of reasons – you’re working the spell at the wrong phase of the moon or you have the wrong herbs for the spell or the wrong color of candle or your intent isn’t strong enough – honestly, sometimes it’s just that the Universe is working against you and your spell. Well, it’s the same thing with cooking. Why doesn’t a recipe work out the way it’s supposed to? Maybe you don’t have the correct ingredients and you are substituting something else. Maybe the weather is working against you – this is eminently true if you are baking, especially cakes and bread. Maybe you’re just not in the mood – you are too tired or too hurried or you just don’t feel like cooking whatever it is you’re cooking that day.

My problem right now is that I’m exhausted from traveling – I am really beginning to feel my age – and I am really too tired to be cooking anything. I should have stuck to something easy and simple – but when has a pie proved too hard for me? One that I have made before? True – I can’t remember when I last made this pie. It may have been twenty or more years ago. I probably had an electric mixer for making sure that everything got blended perfectly. Which is a real issue with this pie. You can’t mix it manually – which is what I was trying to do.

I was so tired when I was mixing up this pie that I was forgetting to take pictures as I did it.

I had to run some errands so as soon as I took the pie out of the oven, I went out and when I got home, I cut myself a piece and put some whipped cream on it and tried it.


Well – it tastes great. It really does. But – the texture is – well, weird. The custard never set up correctly and it’s all kind of mottled. I quite honestly have never seen a pie look like this. I really have to laugh.

I admit I made mistakes from the beginning. I forgot to take the butter out of the freezer and I was in a hurry to get it to soften so I put it in the microwave to defrost and then I forgot about it and it was part-way melted by the time I remembered it. NOT A GOOD IDEA. And then I didn’t have quite enough baked sweet potato, so I used some canned yams and I think blending the two might have messed up the texture. But who knows. I really do believe that this recipe requires an electric mixer to make sure that everything gets beaten well and mixed to a creamy consistency that is nearly impossible to do by hand, especially if you’re exhausted from days of travel. I was also fighting with my little cat Radar, who has been by my side since I got back home – he really missed me when I was gone – but trying to bake a pie when you have a cat on the table isn’t a great idea, either!

So, here’s the recipe. Don’t let my mistakes scare you away from trying it. I have made this pie and it has turned out fabulously good. And both my mother and my sister has made it to perfection.

Sweet Potato Pie

¾ cup butter, softened

1/3 cup white sugar

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

1 tablespoon molasses or dark corn syrup

2 large yams or sweet potatoes, baked, cooled & mashed, about 2 cups total

2 eggs, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 (15-ounce) can evaporated milk

½ teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

Cream butter and sugars. Add molasses or corn syrup and blend until creamy smooth. Beat in sweet potatoes or yams. Beat in eggs. Slowly add vanilla and milk until completely uniform in texture and color. Add spices.

Pour into an unbaked pie shell and bake in a preheated oven at 450 degrees for 5 minutes, then at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Like I said, it didn’t work out like it was supposed to BUT it does taste really good. So, it’s not a complete loss. And the crust is fabulous, as usual. I do make great pie crust, if I say so myself!

Cooking, like casting spells, is a skill, and you have your act together to do it well. I was obviously not with it this morning when I tried to mix up this pie! It’s a good thing I wasn’t trying to cast a love spell or something really important! Brightest Blessings!