My grandmother would always tell me about how her dad use to sell these amazing sweet potato pies but never called them sweet potato pies. He called them niggas in a blanket. (I’ll pause here to let the shock wear off.)

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I’m still trying to find out why sweet potato pies had to be called niggas in the blanket. My grandmother said she’s not sure either but that’s what her dad called them, that’s what she calls them and that’s what I’m going to call them.

Now, I know outside of the black community calling these pies by my great-grandfathers name can cause a disturbance in open dialogue so let’s just stick with fried sweet potato pie. Deal?

Sweet potato pie is something that is dominant in the south, it’s just not Thanksgiving if there’s no sweet potato pie, right?

I learned the hard way that if you leave the south you’ll only find pumpkin pie.

I was in Los Angeles looking for some sweet potato pie that a client requested on the fly (immediately) only to go to 4 stores and find only pumpkin pie. Of course, if I had the time I could have made one but he did not get sweet potato pie that day.

 

There are many different flavor pairings you can use to make your sweet potato pie stand out from the rest but the go-to spices are cinnamon and nutmeg. It was not until recently when I was in the kitchen with my grandmother that I heard the two spices cancel out each other.

My response was, ” I ain’t never heard nothing like that.”

My grandmother said, “Well put them both in there damn it, I don’t give a damn.”

Hence why my nickname for my grandmother is Hurricane.

 

After we finished adjusting the sweet potato filling she said “That’s it! The flavors work.”

I responded with “so much for cinnamon and nutmeg canceling out each other.”

My grandmother said, “don’t make me hurt you, boy.”

I hope you enjoy these pies because it wasn’t until last week that I had one for the first time. No one in my family cared enough to ever learn the recipe to go with their fond memories of this amazing pie. I made sure to get my grandmother in the kitchen to show me how to make these amazing sweet potato pies (niggas in the blanket).

 

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Sweet Potato Pie

This recipe is 100 years old. My great-grandfather would make it for my grandmother and siblings all the time. I heard so much about the pie but never experienced it because my grandmother stopped making it and was the only person with the recipe. I made it a mission to make this recipe with my grandmother and measured everything! I hope you enjoy.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American, Southern
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • Sweet Potato filling:
  • 1 ½ lbs. sweet potato peeled, chopped
  • ¼ cups + 1 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Crust:
  • 1 ½ cups self-rising flour
  • ¼ cup shorting
  • pinch salt
  • ½ cup evaporated milk
  • 4 cups canola oil
  • powder sugar garnish

Instructions

  • In a pot add sweet potatoes and cover with water, bring to a boil and cook for 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender. Drain and place in a bowl add remaining ingredients and mix until smooth. Sit to the side to cool.
  • In a bowl mix flour and shortening together until cornmeal texture has formed. Add milk and mix until dough is formed.
  • Roll out dough to 1/8 inch on a floured surface and with a large biscuit cutter cut out 8 circles.
  • Add 2 tablespoons of cooled filling to each pie circle. Fold dough over and crimp with a fork, sit on a foiled lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining pie circles.
  • Heat oil to 350 degrees and fry four pies at time for 45 seconds per side for even browning.
  • Keep pies warm in a 200-degree oven while you fry the remaining pies. Dust with generous amount of powdered sugar. Serve hot and enjoy.