Sunday, December 4, 2011

Old Fashioned Southern Sweet Potato Pie



Almost every recipe I see for Sweet Potato Pie calls for the addition of cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg--the pumpkin pie spices. As a girl growing up in Alabama, I don't remember my Grandmother's and my Aunties' Sweet Potato Pies tasting like my Mother's pumpkin pie (and she makes the best).

Aunt Ruby made the best Sweet Potato Pie. She also made the best ice tea, which she made with loose tea then strained into a pitcher. Hers was the perfectly sweetened tea, not too sweet, just right. And she served it over crushed ice.

I remember her sweet potato pie simply tasting like sweet, buttery, vanilla scented sweet potatoes. Delicious!

Her recipe calls for the addition of light Karo syrup. Karo syrup is an old-fashioned corn syrup, used to soften texture, add volume, prevent crystalization of sugar, and enhance flavor. It is not to be confused with the high fructose corn syrup of today, though still widely available in grocery stores.



Aunt Ruby's Sweet Potato Pie
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup light Karo syrup
2 eggs, beaten
1 can evaporated milk
3 cups cooked, mashed sweet potatoes
2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 unbaked 9-inch pie crust
Nutmeg (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter, brown sugar and syrup together. Add eggs and stir. Add sweet potatoes and mix well. Stir in the milk, vanilla and salt, making sure all ingredients are thoroughly mixed. Pour into the pie shell and bake 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Dust top with freshly grated nutmeg if desired.

104 comments:

  1. That is the sweet potato pie I know and grew up with too. I was wondering about Karo syrup and if it was a high fructose product. Thanks for clearing that up. One of my favorite things when I was a kid was dark Karo with butter mashed in it on grandma's hot biscuits! The pie looks delicious!!

    Wanda

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    1. Do I have to use Karo syrup? My daughter and I are diabetic, will it work without it or is it a must?

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    2. Do I have to use Karo syrup? My daughter and I are diabetic, will it work without it or is it a must?

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    3. You can substitute honey for the sugars and coconut milk for the evaporated milk. Diabetics can use both. Thank you.

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    4. Seriously, dont make this pie without using the real ingredients. My mom is a Mississippi-born and raised SP pie maker. One of the best. She tried to make pies healthier/less sugar with substitute ingredients and they were terrible. She likes to pretend that year didn't happen. Those pies have become 'the things we dont talk about' in our family😃

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  2. I've never tried sweet potato pie. I like the idea of a simple one that is not another version of pumpkin pie. I love sweet potatoes, so I should definitely try this!

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing this fantastic recipe. I had never heard of sweet potato pie until I went to school at UNC (Chapel Hill). I made this for Thanksgiving, and it was fantastic. I've linked back to you here: http://evabakes.blogspot.com/2012/11/old-fashioned-southern-sweet-potato-pie.html

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    1. Makeing now but tasted it it was awesome. Had to keep the recipe to make for the holidays .new tradition.

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    2. I hope you enjoy it and thank you Eva for sharing my Aunt Ruby's Sweet Potato Pie.
      --Rocquie

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    3. Can I use dark Karo syrup

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    4. I think dark Karo would work just fine.

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  4. I can't wait to try this

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  5. Actually I read it yesterday but I had some thoughts about it and today I wanted to read it again because it is very well written. Gypsy Dharma

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  6. what do you mean by cooked sweet potatoes? Do i boil them or skillet? Thanks..

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    1. Anon. . .you can boil them or bake them. I have done both, but it is really easier to bake them. That way you don't have to worry about peeling them. Just wash the potatoes well, place on a sheet pan, and cook at 400 degrees until tender. Depending on the size of the potatoes, it may take 30 minutes to over an hour. Just keep checking on them. Once they are completely tender and once they are cool enough to handle, just scrape the flesh away from the jacket. I hope this helps, Rocquie

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    2. May I suggest that you line your pan with foil for easy clean up (sugars may bubble out). Also it makes for easy peeling of skin if you oil them down with alittle cooking oil before placing on pan.

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  7. What size can of evaporated milk?

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    1. Anonymous, thank you for asking. . .the can of milk is 12 oz.

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  8. Do I use salted or unsalted butter??

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    1. Anon, either one you have in your kitchen will work just fine. Your choice.

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  9. How deep was your dish? Mine was 2-3 inch and 9 inch round and I had nearly a cup that wouldn't fit. And some of what did fit that sloshed onto the oven bottom, so hoping it smoked out quickly enough not to ruin the pie! :/

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    1. ashley, I do use a "deep dish" pie dish. I hope you baked your extra mixture in a buttered ramekin or small casserole? Yes, and that oven thing--I always joke that's how I know it will be good. I wouldn't try to guess the times food has roiled over into my oven over the years. I always just take it stride. And like I tell my little girl. . .cooking is messing. I hope your pie was delicious! --Rocquie

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    2. Unfortunately I didn't have a ramekin at my Mom's house! I usually have them to bake the extra. Once the smoke stopped, all looked fine. Just hoping the pie isn't smoky - taking it to our church Thanksgiving tonight! Thanks for the reply :)

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    3. ashley, I doubt it will taste smoky. Happy Thanksgiving and thank you for your comments. --Rocquie

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  10. so, Sage, I have been asked to bake the sweet potato pie for our church's Gratitude Dinner that we have prior to THanksgiving. As we are a young church, just growing and reaching out to our new neighborhood that is ethnically diversified, I would like very much to make this pie "correctly". I have been told by persons in our area that they make it the same way I make pumpkin pie,(with the traditional spices) but use sweet potatoes instead of pumpkin. This receipt of yours sounds more appealing to me. You say it is a more traditional receipt from the south? Do you consider it "soul" ?

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    1. martha, this pie certainly touches my soul. It is my Great Aunt Ruby's recipe, and is over 60 years old. Every time I make this, I am reminded of how much I loved that woman when I was a girl. Blessings, Rocquie

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    2. Hi I have a question how many sweet potatoes do I use?

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    3. Depending on the size of the potatoes--about 3 medium sized ones, or about 3 pounds. Enjoy, Rocquie

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  11. What can I use if I don't have the evaporated milk?

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  12. I cannot get Karo syrup in this part of Germany, is there anything I can substitute

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    1. I don't know what is available where you are. Perhaps you could Google "substitute for corn syrup"? Good luck, Rocquie

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    2. sweet condensed milk (eagle brand) works wonderfully - my recipe calls for it instead of corn syrup

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    3. I have had recipes that traditionally use Karo where maple syrup is swapped out (most recently I did that with a pumpkin pie). I bet Maple would work in this, if you are ok with the maple taste addition (which I am betting would be delicious).

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  13. How manys pies does this recipe make

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    1. This recipe makes one pie.

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    2. I made this recipe and it was way to much for 1 pie i got 2 9inch pies not deep dish out of tjis one recipe

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    3. I made this recipe exactly as you wrote it and i got 2 9 inch pies?

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    4. I was able to make 2 deep dish pies!

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  14. Making this today for my mom, I can't wait to try it. I've had the other version with the pumpkin pie spices. This seems like an easier, tastier recipe!

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  15. what can I use instead of condensed milk? I have some allergic family members

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    1. The recipe calls for evaporated milk and not the sweetened condensed milk. If lactose intolerance is your concern, I would consider using a can of full fat coconut milk. However, I have not tested this so can't guarantee it. If you try it, let me know if it works? --Rocquie

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  16. Baking the sweet potatoes makes the natural sugar more prominent. I think that makes for a better pie, although I have boiled them in a hurry.

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    1. Jeannels, I agree and I always bake my sweet potatoes. It is also easier and I like the texture better. Cheers, Rocquie

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  17. How do I make the lovely pie crust? It looks like it contains walnuts, I hope!

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    1. I used a basic butter crust recipe. No walnuts but that does sound delicious so if you find a good recipe, will you let me know? Thanks, Rocquie

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  18. I can't wait to try this. I am the only one in my family who makes sweet potato pie. I learned it by watching my godmother when I was 10 yrs old. I loved eating it and I wanted to know how to make it. I was always under SOMEONE in a kitchen. Unfortunately I am guilty of using Pumpkin pie spies because that is all I've ever known and I have no frame of reference because I have never tried pumpkin. It just never tempted me. I am now on a mission to ONE, try pumpkin pie ans TWO, make a sweet potato with the correct flavors. Then I will try to evolve it into my own. I'm only 28 but I am very determined to develop some FAMILY RECIPES to pass down to my children and Grands in the future. I know, this reply got super personal, but you have touched home on a subject I have been thinking about a lot lately so, THANK YOU!

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    1. Ashley, many people add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves (the pumpkin pie spices) to their sweet potato pies. If that is the way you like it, do so. My Grandmother and Aunties did not and I loved the flavor of their pies. Thank you for your heartfelt comment and I wish you luck in your admirable desire to create heirloom recipes for your family. --Rocquie

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  19. Making this in a couple weeks. Going to try and put the sweet potatoes in a slow cooker then freeze.Someone just gave me about 35 potatoes.

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    1. I like the idea of cooking your sweet potatoes in the crock pot. I think I'll try that too. Thank you, Rocquie

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  20. My pie is in the oven now! Can't wait to taste it! I am baking it for my 8 year old son who requested it :). HR loves my sweet potato pies!

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    1. I hope your pie turned out perfectly and that your son loved it! Thank you for letting me know you made it. --Rocquie

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    2. I sage question I making this pie right now its in the oven but mines came out some what thick and a little lighter then the one in the picture you think it will still come out good?

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    3. I sage question I making this pie right now its in the oven but mines came out some what thick and a little lighter then the one in the picture you think it will still come out good?

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  21. Thank you for sharing this recipe! I am also from AL and do not care for cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, etc. I can't wait to bake this next week!

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    1. Alise, enjoy and happy Thanksgiving. --Rocquie

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    2. I want to use Bruce's canned yams what do you think?

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    3. I think the flavor and texture would be quite different. If you try it, let me know how it turned out?

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  22. First, I want to thank you for posting a true and proven sweet potato pie. I am 65 and grew up cooking from scratch. Though I must say, I've adapted well to quick cooking technology when time is scarce. I have done sweet potatoes in the crock (as well as regular baked potatoes) yum! Melt in you mouth. Although, I don't use this method overly much, sweet potatoes can come out the same by microwaving. I have a nice size (larger)1000+watt..self sensor microwave not a little one. But if time is short, they can be done quicker with excellent results. I am making your version exactly as written this Thanksgiving. Never before had a sweet potato pie that was not made exactly like pumpkin. Can't wait!

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    1. I hope you enjoy the pie. Thank you for your comment, and happy Thanksgiving. --Rocquie

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  23. Sage Trifle this will be my first sweet tator pie I have ever made! Well I'm making 2 so wish me luck. I just fixd my first chess pie an it was awesome. I'll let you know Thursday how I did. Thank you for the easy recipe

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  24. This will be my first Sweet tator pie I have ever fixd so wish me luck. I'll let ya know how it taste after Thanksgiving. Thank you for the easy Recipe.

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    1. Melanie, I hope you enjoyed the pie!

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  25. Thanks for posting this recipe. I purchased a Sweet Potato Pie from Sam's for Thanksgiving and I was so disappointed because it tasted like Pumpkin Pie and we ended up tossing it... I don't like Pumpkin Pie and I can taste the difference. I am about to try this version as part of my New Year's dessert menu.

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    1. gls, I hope your family enjoys the pie as much as ours does. Happy New Year, Rocquie

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  26. Just finished baking the pie and it smells so amazing I want to devour the whole thing!!!! Thanks for the recipe I think this will be a hit!

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    1. Rachel, I'm so happy you made the pie and thank you for letting me know. I hope you all enjoyed it. --Rocquie

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  27. Its in the oven now!!!!

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    1. I hope your pie was perfect and that you loved it.
      --Rocquie

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  28. i'm going through recipes that i have tried and came across this- i made it around thanksgiving last year and it was FANTASTIC. it was not only my first time making sweet potato pie, but also my first time even eating it! i think its going to become a yearly tradition :)

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    1. Thank you for letting me know the pie worked out well for you and that it may become a tradition in your family too. --Rocquie

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    2. My grandmother's sweet potato pie was strictly vanilla flavored also. I love love love it! I've been making them that way all my life and I'm disappointed when one is spiced. She and I use white sugar and no Karo but I'm going to try yours. I'm sure I will love it too. Thank you for pointing out there can be a difference between pumpkin and sweet potato pie.

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    3. Tammy, I hope your family will enjoy the recipe. --Rocquie

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  29. Well, I'm trying Sweet Potato Pie today - :) I'm a little worried as the mixture looks curdled as I poured it into the unbaked crust. I used canned sweet potatoes could this have caused the curdling? I drained all the juice off the potatoes before mashing them. I hope it will taste good. Thank you for your advice.

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    1. I have never used canned sweet potatoes so can't really address your question. How did your pie turn out? How was the final texture?

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  30. Could I use 2 regular pie crust for this pie instead of 1 deep dish? Or would it be too much mixture or not enough? Lol THANKS IN ADVANCE

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    1. I have never tried that, but if you do, keep in mind that they probably won't take as long to bake since they will be thinner.

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  31. Well, I am going to try this recipe now but with treacle as I am in England and cannot find Karo syrup (so annoyed I forgot to stock up on golden syrup which would probably have been the closest to Karo syrup) but will let you know how it turns out ! Will try to make a simple syrup next time to see if it is better (don't have time to make it tonight :-) ) thanks for the recipe !

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  32. Thank you! I thought my family were the only ones with a liking for sweet potato pie sans spices. I made a similar one for years, then lost the recipe. Baked your version this morning and it looks absolutely scrummy!!
    We are celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend (Oct 22), as I'm having surgery next month. Yum! Can't wait to dig into the pie later. Thanks a bunch for sharing your story and recipe. Happy Holidays!

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    1. I hope the pie is delicious and good luck with your surgery.

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  33. I had a bunch of sweet potatoes to use and pie crusts so I tried this and it is YUMMY! I didn't have deep dish crusts though and this recipe made two full pies.

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    1. Good to know--I have been asked that before. Thanks.

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    2. Did you adjust baking time since u did 2 pies vs one deep dish

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  34. this will be the first reply i have ever submitted, but i felt this pie was SOOOOO good i had to thank you for an outstanding recipe. i am not a good cook, so i was very happy when hubby was pleased (and surprised) that the pie was really really good. thanks again.. i'll keep checking your recipes for more good stuff.

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    1. The recipe comes from my great-aunt Ruby, a wonderful cook. Keep practicing.

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  35. This is how I like my sweet potato pie too, so good. I use vanilla instead of spices for apple pie too and it is just delicious. (Half white sugar and half brown)

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    1. I make apple pie that way too. Pumpkin pie spices are good but everything doesn't need to taste that way. Thank you for your comment. Cheers, Rocquie

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  36. what pie crust do you use?

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  37. I love this recipe. It is the same as mine. The only difference is I add a 4th teaspoon of lemon extract to the filling. So devilish.

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  38. Thank you so much for sharing your Aunts recipe! I'm making it tonight and made it once before already! I'd never had sweet potato pie before but I adore this pie!

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  39. Love sweet potato pie.My mother in law made these and added crushed pineapples, just wonderful

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  40. I've never made or had sweet potato pie but have always wanted to try it. This recipe sounds so good, thanks for sharing. Probably a stupid question but can you refrigerate it and eat it cold like a pumpkin pie? I want to make it the night before Thanksgiving.

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  41. I've never made this pie. I didn't grow up with it, but my husband did. How do I cook the potatoes to mash them?

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    1. An EASY way that I've started using is put potatoes in a baking pan, add just enough water to cover about 1/3 of potatoes, cover with foil and bake. I don't even wash the potatoes! The peeling comes right off!

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  42. This will be my first Thanksgiving making all of my pies homemade and my husband has requested a traditional sweet potato pie, naturally I chose this recipe. After reviewing the directions and other questions, I just have one question myself. I purchased unbaked, frozen pie crusts; should I thaw one before assembling or just add my ingredients and bake straight from the freezer? Thank you so much!

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  43. Wow this made me think of home sweet home. ;) This has to be the best recipe for sweet potato pie since my grandma's. Thanks for sharing.

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  44. Should the crust be unthawed or can it be frozen?

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  45. I'm not sure if maybe we have different ideas of a southern sweet potato pie, but I ended up throwing both of my pies away. There is way too much evaporated milk, that's all I could taste and smell and I followed the recipe exactly as is. Very disappointed because there were so many positive reviews but my moms sweet potato pie doesn't taste like this :/ it just tasted like a baked milk pie lol

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  46. I love cooking/baking. Im a foodie. My father and I love sweet potato pie. This year I chose to try my hand at making one. I chose your recipe. I followed it to the letter, I can't wait for tomorrow....Happy Thanksgiving!!

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  47. So good, thanks for sharing.

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  48. I've never made or tried sweet potato pie before, but my future mother-in-law has been wanting to try it. She was diagnosed with cancer recently and hasn't been able to bake anything, so I found your recipe and tried it. It's delicious!! The flavor is nice and light, and the crust comes out great. I was able to make 2 pies with your recipe since I don't have the deep dish pans, but I'm okay with that! Thanks for sharing this recipe!

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  49. I am making this pie for the first time today. I did add nutmeg and cinnamon, because my husband loves those in his pie. I added 1 tsp of each. There was a lot of mixture, so I was able to make two, deep dish pies!

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