Sweet potato pie

White girls can’t make no sweet potato pie…

One year, I made this sweet potato pie for my office Christmas party. On the light-rail train on the way home that evening, I had the remains of the pie under my seat. One stop before mine, I stood up and moved over to the door, and then realized I’d forgotten my pie. “My pie! Could someone hand me my pie, please?” and someone did.

A tiny, old, old black man standing by the door says, “What kind of pie is that, girl?” I’m not happy about answering, because I’m afraid he’ll think it’s wrong of me to try it, but I tell him it’s a sweet potato pie. Sure enough, he grumbles, “White girl can’t make no sweet potato pie.” So I cut him a piece. Just as the train gets to my stop, he admits, “Not bad for a white girl.” So this is my “not bad for a white girl” sweet potato pie.

How to make sweet potato pie:

Preheat the oven to 425 and put a pot of water on to boil. Peel three medium-size red garnet sweet potatoes, and cut them into chunks. Put them in the water and boil them until they’re soft, about ten minutes.

Meanwhile, make a pie crust. Put one stick of butter in a mixing bowl and microwave one minute or until melted. Add 1 1/2 cups of flour and mix. Pour into a pie pan and spread the dough around with your fingers until it covers the whole bottom and sides.

Drain off the water and mash the sweet potatoes. Add 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon cinnamon or allspice, 1/2 teaspoon curry powder, 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, four eggs, and about 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt. Mix well and pour into the pie crust. Bake about 40 minutes or until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. Eat hot or cold, with whipped cream on top or without.

Vegetarian or vegan

Sweet potato pie is vegetarian, but it’s not vegan.

Published by Karen Carr

Dr. Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram, Pinterest, or Facebook, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.

Leave a comment