This Sweet Potato Pie recipe is the dessert of your southern dreams! Sweet potatoes are roasted in the oven until caramelized and flavorful, then whipped into a super light and fluffy custard. A par-baked homemade pie crust gives it a perfect crispy-flaky edge. Finish it off with 3-ingredient caramel whipped cream! I will show you how to make it with step by step photos.
Prepare and Par-Bake your pie crust. Use my recipe for Flaky Pie Crust, then follow the instructions for Par-baking on my post for How to Blind Bake a Pie Crust. Follow instructions for baking the crust (with weights) at 425 for 15 minutes, then removing the weights and baking another 3 minutes, until the center of the pie crust is just barely blonde and matte. Set aside your par-baked crust to cool. (You do not HAVE to par bake your pie crust.*** Your pie will be fine. But you risk the crust being gummy on the bottom and not perfectly flaky. This is a bit more of a texture issue with sweet potato pie, since the filling is already so soft. You need a bit of flaky crispness for contrast. I highly recommend par-baking!)
Roast the sweet potatoes: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Wash and scrub 2 (large) or 3 (small) sweet potatoes, you want to make sure you have about 1 and 3/4 pounds total. Place them on a baking sheet poke each potato a few times on each side with a paring knife, reaching nice and deep. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and rub to coat.
Roast the sweet potatoes at 400 for about 50 minutes. Check them with a fork: it should slide right through to the center easily. Leave them in a few more minutes if the center is still hard. Remove from the oven and let cool until you can reasonably handle them.
Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. Place a sturdy baking sheet in the oven to heat. If you have a pizza stone or pizza steel, place it in the oven (with the baking sheet on top). Pizza stones do wonders for regulating oven temperatures, especially toward the end of baking when you have to open the oven to check your pie.
Peel each sweet potato. The skins should come right off easily. Give your potato a taste. See, isn't it so good??
Add all the sweet potato flesh to a food processor and process on low for a minute, then on high for another minute. Make sure all the little stringies are broken up. Don't skip this step! Processing is what gives our pie that perfectly smooth texture. (If you don't have a food processor, I would use a hand mixer, or a potato masher as a last result.)
Make the pie filling. Measure out 2 cups of sweet potato puree and add to a large bowl or stand mixer. (Treat yourself to the remaining sweet potato puree. Eat it with some salt and a pat of butter, or straight off the spoon, baby food style. I'm telling you, it's so so good!)
Add 3 tablespoons melted butter and give it a stir.
Add 3 large egg yolks to the sweet potatoes. Add the egg whites to a separate bowl (to be beaten later.)
Add 1 cup thick buttermilk, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar.
In a small cereal bowl, add 2 tablespoons flour, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon fresh nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, 1/8 teaspoon cardamom, and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.
Whisk to combine the dry ingredients, then add to the sweet potato mixture and combine well, scraping the sides of the bowl, until thoroughly mixed.
Use a hand mixer to beat the 3 egg whites in the other bowl. Beat them for at least 2-4 minutes, until stiff peaks have formed (see photo). Use a rubber spatula to gently fold the egg whites into the sweet potato mixture. Keep folding until there are no white streaks.
Make a tin foil pie-shield. Fold a square piece of foil (about the size of your pie) in half, then in half again. Cut out the center. (See my Flaky Pie Crust post for pictures of this). Unfold, then carefully mold the foil around the edges of your par-baked pie crust. This will prevent the crust from over browning. Do not cover the center of the pie at all. It should be completely exposed. (If you did not par-bake your crust, remove the pie from the oven at the halfway mark, then cover edges and return to finish baking.)
Bake. Place the pie on the heated baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 50-55 minutes, until the edges are firm and the center jiggles when you shake the pan. The edges should be puffy and domed, and the center slightly sunken. The center should look jiggly like jello, not sloshy or liquid-y. It will continue setting up as it cools. Over baking causes cracks and a dry texture.
Let the pie cool on a wire rack for about 4 hours, until room temperature, then cover and transfer to the fridge if you like chilled pie. This pie can be served room temperature or chilled.
Make the whipped cream: When you are ready to serve your pie, make the whipped cream. Add 1/2 cup CHILLED caramel sauce to a large bowl or mixer. Use the whisk attachment to beat the caramel until it is light and frothy, at least 2 minutes on high, making sure to scrape the edges.
With the mixer running, slowly add 1 and 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream. Add 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Continue beating on high for 1-3 minutes until soft peaks form.
Garnish the top of the pie, or each individual slice, with the salted caramel whipped cream.
OPTIONAL Praline topping: In a medium bowl, add 1/2 cup flour, 6 tablespoons brown sugar, 6 tablespoons white sugar, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1 cup chopped pecans. Stir together.In another bowl, microwave 6 tablespoons butter until barely melted. (if you get it too hot, let cool for a couple minutes.) Add 1 beaten egg while whisking with a fork. Add the liquid to the nut mixture and mix until barely combined. After the pie has been baking as instructed for 30 minutes, remove the baking sheet from the oven and carefully add the praline topping all over the pie using small spoonfuls to evenly distribute. Return the pie to the oven (crust still covered, but praline not covered!) and bake for another 20-30 minutes until the top is browned and crisp. Follow instructions for cooling and serving.
*You need a fatty buttermilk. It should be nice and thick when you pour it. If you can only find buttermilk that has more of a milk consistency, then use half buttermilk and half heavy cream in this recipe. **You can replace this vanilla with 1-2 tablespoon bourbon (or other booze) or real maple syrup.***If you choose not to par-bake, just roll out your pie shell, crimp the edges, and keep it chilled in the fridge until you are ready to add your sweet potato filling. Then bake as directed. You still might need a pie shield toward the end of baking, check toward the edge to see if your crusts are getting t0o brown. Nutrition facts do not include the optional praline topping, but it does include the whipped cream.