sweet potatoWhat I Liked

This recipe has lit a fire inside of me I didn’t know I had. When it comes to sweet potato pie, I am a total noob. However, I feel driven to perfect this classic southern staple. When I lived in Tennessee everyone could tell you stories for hours on end about their grandma’s sweet potato pie. Naturally, everyone would boast that their grandma’s was the best. Unfortunately, I am not a huge fan of sweet potatoes.

However, I felt determined to change my own way of thinking. This recipe combines sweet potatoes, milk, sugar, and orange to develop a fresh and vibrant flavor. I loved the simplicity of this preparation. There wasn’t a lot going on, but it was by no means boring. The orange came through strong and provided a citrus blast.

Equipment Worth Using

I like to use a simple pyrex pie plate when baking pie. The glass structure allows for an even bake, and has never gone wrong. I also have used a pastry blender on several occasions when I don’t want to mix a pie pastry with my hands. You can find a pyrex pie plate and a pastry blender here and here

Original Recipe For Vintage Sweet Potato Pie

Two pounds of potatoes will make two pies. Boil the potatoes soft; peel and mash fine through a cullender while hot; one tablespoonful of butter to be mashed in with the potato. Take five eggs and beat the yolks and whites separate and add one gill of milk; sweeten to taste; squeeze the juice of one orange, and grate one half of the peel into the liquid. One half teaspoonful of salt in the potatoes. Have only one crust and that at the bottom of the plate. Bake quickly. 

Updated Method

sweet potatoIngredients:

1 pounds sweet potatoes

1/2 tablespoonful of butter

3 eggs

1/4 cup milk

juice of half an orange

a quarter of an orange’s zest

Favorite pie crust recipe.

Bake or boil the sweet potato until soft. Mash with the butter. Add the orange juice, orange zest, and milk to the sweet potato. Separate the egg yolks from whites. Beat yolks lightly and incorporate in sweet potato. Mix the egg whites with a hand mixer until stiff. Gently fold into sweet potato mixture and gently pour into pie plate. Bake the pie at 350 for 45 minutes. Watch the crust to make sure that it doesn’t burn.

What I Learned

I added too much orange when I initially made this recipe. All I could taste was the orange, which was fine with me. I adjusted the recipe in the updated method to reflect changes I would make to have a more robust sweet potato flavor. I am also going to do this again with sugar pecan crumble on top. Finally, I think more sweet potato with a crumble on top would make a delightful pie without adding unnecessary frills and complications.

In and of itself this recipe was great. It opened my eyes to many possibilities with a sweet potato pie. It also combined ingredients I wouldn’t consider combining like the orange and sweet potatoes. However, the combination worked marvelously. Not a bad recipe by any means.

Recipe Reference

What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking, San Francisco: 1881

Vintage Sweet Potato Pie From 1881, A Light and Refreshing Take

2 thoughts on “Vintage Sweet Potato Pie From 1881, A Light and Refreshing Take

  • September 7, 2018 at 3:18 am

    I always put orange in with my mashed, baked sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving. I think the sugar pecan crumble on top will greatly enhance the desirability of eating this pie. Maybe even a crumble crust.

    • September 11, 2018 at 8:51 pm

      I loved it. It really added a freshness to the pie. It didn’t seem as dense. I’m definitely going to try it again.


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