I made some sweet potato pie today.

This was my second time making this dessert, and I made it in a more or less similar way.

The first time I made it, I bragged to my housemate, and he asked me if my making a sweet potato pie was cultural appropriation, and I had no idea, because I had no idea sweet potato pie was a thing that black people did. To be honest, I thought it was an all-American thing (immigrant probs, amirite?) So I researched - and I found out that historically, sweet potato pie was a food slaves made in the south. And I had no idea until I made it and someone else called me out on it!

Here's the thing about cultural appropriation in food - it happens ALL THE TIME. People love to take foods from other cultures - frequently every day, commonplace foods - and remake them with slight tweaks and giant price tags. So how do you avoid it? I personally advocate for research.

I think it's important to know where the food you're making comes from, especially when you're modifying it. I tend to modify a lot of recipes to make them vegetarian or vegan, but I try to do it in a way that feels as respectful to me as possible.

I think there's space in food for innovation, but it has to be accompanied by respect for the important place that food has in culture.

So, the moral of this story? Don't appropriate. Don't glorify the food of another culture without trying to understand that culture itself. Accept that you'll probably be clueless even with additional information, and do your best to be respectful.

And also, have some pie.

Sweet Potato Pie

This is a filling dessert. You could tell yourself it's healthy because it has a vegetable as a filling, but let's be real - this is not a healthy dessert. And that's a good thing - sometimes dessert just needs to be decadent.

Yield: 1 Pie

Total Time: 2 hours active cooking time

Ingredients:

Pie Crust

  • 3 C Flour
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 3/4 C Coconut Oil
  • Ice water, as needed
  • Sweet Potato Filling

  • Three Medium Sweet Potatoes
  • 1 C Coconut Milk Liquid or 1/2 C Almond Butter
  • Maple Syrup, to taste
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/2 Tsp Cardamom
  • 1/2 Tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tsp Orange Extract
  • Directions:

    1.) The pie crust recipe is the same dough as that of my [Love Triangles](https://cookinginpjs.com/love_triangles/) from last week. The first time I did it, I added a little bit too much ice water - perhaps a couple tablespoons too much - and I wound up with a loose dough I didn't want to add more flour to. So that time, I rolled it out hastily, trying not to handle it too much to avoid the coconut oil melting prior to baking. This time I managed to avoid that pitfall, and carefully added only as much water as was necessary, resulting in a soft, elastic, and close-to-perfect dough. I recommend prepping and chilling that before you do anything else.

    2.) I went the simple route; I chopped the sweet potato small, into pieces about a half inch wide. After you do that, douse them in spices and throw them in the oven until they are melt-in-your-mouth cooked. Or, you know, about thirty minutes.

    3.) Mashed them, add maple syrup, the some almond butter, or the liquid from a can of coconut milk for creaminess, and your spices and extracts. You want to make sure it isn't too sweet, tasting every time you add a new ingredient to - ahem - "assess quality." Make sure that the pie isn't so sweet that you can't taste the sweet potato. The goal is to enhance it so it can be the star, not mask it.

    4.) Preheat the oven to 375 F. Take out your pie dough which has, of course, chilled for at least four hours at this point, and roll it out gently. Set it into a pie pan/tin, and crimp the edges however you're like. Reserve the cut off bits to create a decoration for your pie. Pop the crust in the oven for about fifteen minutes.

    5.) After the pie crust has baked for about fifteen, take the pie out of the oven and layer in your filling. You want it to be up until the rim of the pie pan - this filling won't expand, so you can fill it right up. Put the pie back in the oven for about twenty minutes.

    6.) In the meantime, roll out your spare dough and get creative! I went the way of stars and diamonds because those are the cookie cutters I found, but the world is your oyster. When twenty minutes have passed, take your pie out of the oven and carefully place the decorations on top. Put it back in for another 20 minutes. Proceed to turn on the oven light and watch excitedly, as I did (I think I mistook it for a television).

    7.) After another twenty minutes have passed, increase the oven temperature to 400 F, and place your pies on the top rack - I like my top crust to be a little brown, and this makes that happen!

    8.) Take your pie out of the oven and serve it up! I loved it with a dollop of coconut whipped cream, but it would likely also taste good with ice cream, or normal whipped cream, or any manner of things. It was also excellent all on its own.