My husband is southern through and through. He likes his chicken fried, a cold beer on a Friday night, a pair of jeans that fit just right, and the radio uppppppp. Or wait, was that one of those country songs he brainwashed me with?
My hubby is always begging me to cook him southern food. But I can never manage to gather up the courage to make him any. When I think of southern, I think lard and grease. Grease covered chicken, butter slathered mashed potatoes, biscuits topped with fat-filled gravy; just the thought of it leaves my fingers feeling greasy.
When our friends invited us over for dinner last week, I offered to bring dessert. They are fellow southerners, having both attended USC, and I figured I could make the crowd happy (and appease my husband’s undying requests) by making a southern dessert with a healthy twist.
There’s nothing more southern than a sweet potato pie. While the southern version typically masks the flavor of the sweet potato with sugar and butter, I wanted to let that beautiful, rich sweet potato flavor sing. I decided to cut down on the fat and replace it with coconut oil (a much milder oil) and to cut down on the sugar and replace it with sucanat (an unrefined sugar with a deeper molasses flavor). If you’ve never used sucanat before, it’s a minimally refined form of cane sugar. It’s supposedly healthier because the vitamins and minerals that naturally occur in cane sugar aren’t stripped away in the refining process. I prefer it in this recipe because it has a deep molasses flavor. If you don’t have any, feel free to use brown sugar instead or you can pick some up at your local health food store (I got mine at MOM’s in the bulk bin section).
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon rolled oats, ground into flour
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1/2 cup sucanat
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
We’ll start first by making the pie crust. If you have a prepared pie crust you can skip this part but I think the homemade crust is infinitely better and definitely worth the minimal effort it requires.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Add all of your ingredients to your food processor and process until the mixture begins to come together into a ball.
Spray a 9 inch pie pan with nonstick spray. Then pour your pie crust mixture into your pie pan.
Using wet fingers, press the mixture evenly around the pie pan, including up the sides. It’s really important to press the mixture down as hard as you possibly can. The more compact you make the crust the better it will hold when you go to cut the pie.
Once you have the crust evenly pressed and distributed, place it in the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove the pie pan and allow the crust to cool.
Now we can move onto the yummy filling.
Add your sweet potatoes (make sure they are fully cooked and mashed), eggs, vanilla, and melted coconut oil. Whisk until combined.
In another bowl, add dry ingredients (sucanat, brown sugar, rolled oats, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and baking soda) and mix together.
Add dry ingredients to sweet potato mixture and whisk together.
Add in almond milk and whisk until combined.
Pour pie filling into the pie crust.
Place pie in oven to bake for 70 minutes.
Remove to cool completely and then place in the refrigerator (it tastes a million times better cold).
We decided to top ours with some whipped topping. It was like having Thanksgiving in January but we could still button our pants.
I had never had sweet potato pie but this recipe almost made me a southern convert. Almost…I don’t think I could ever manage to say ya’ll with a straight face.
The other southerners in the crowd also approved—we managed to finish an entire pie between four people in one evening; that’s a little intense.
On top of that, I finally scored some points with the hubby on the southern food front. The key was making an extra pie that he could have all to himself. What can I say? He’s a true southern man—the way to his heart is through his stomach.