Sweet potatoes (Wikimedia)

Fried sweet potato pies

A Southern-inspired treat that's a fantastic holiday addition for families around the world to enjoy.

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The other day I was in my local supermarket chatting briefly with a baker named Talisha. She mentioned that it had been a crazy kind of day, but that it was going to get a whole lot better since she was going home soon to make fried sweet potato pies.

Fried what??

I’m not usually drawn to fried foods, but I love sweet potato pie, and I welcome a good baking challenge – so she had my attention. And lucky for me, unlike a real Southerner, this baker shared her process, step by step. And I digested it all, no notes, and no calories. Not yet, anyway.

So Talisha went home and fried up sweet potato pies, while I went home and did a whole lot of research. Turns out she didn’t invent the concept of fried pies, just gets the award for piquing my interest big time. I compared a slew of recipes and techniques, and came up with my own version that’s not too time consuming, but still yields a real holiday treat. Best of all, for the anti-fried foodies, you can take this same recipe and bake it, thereby avoiding the hot oil and accompanying smells. But if it’s authentic fried pies you’re looking for, no shortcuts – you’ve gotta fry it to earn bragging rights!

Fried Sweet Potato Pies

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Prep45 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Yield8 people

Ingredients

  • 1 box pastry dough sheets
  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Cinnamon and sugar
  • Oil for frying
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tbsp maple extract
  • A few drops of hot water
  • 1/2 cup crushed candied pecans

Instructions

  • Bake sweet potatoes at 450° F until soft, approximately 1.5 hours. Remove from oven, allow to cool, and then peel and mash.
  • Add eggs, milk, nutmeg, sugar, vanilla and salt and mix until smooth.
  • Heat oil in small, deep pot. Oil should come at least halfway up the pot, with a depth of about 3 inches.
  • Spread a large piece of parchment paper out on your counter, and sprinkle with flour. Gently roll out dough to thin it slightly, working with one sheet at a time.
  • Use a large circular cookie cutter or the lid of a jar to cut circles out of the dough. Place a heaping spoonful of sweet potato mixture in the center of half of the dough circles.
  • Top with remaining dough circles, and then press down hard around the edges with a fork to seal.
  • *Fry two mini-pies at a time, for about 5-6 minutes or until dark golden brown. Remove from pot with slotted spoon, and transfer to paper towel lined plate.
  • Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar, and serve warm.
  • Alternatively, you can make a simple maple glaze, drizzle over pies, and before the glaze hardens, sprinkle with crushed candied pecans: Mix the powdered sugar with maple extract, and add a few drops hot water at a time and mix well until a thick but easily pourable consistency is achieved.
  • *If you prefer to bake your fried pies, preheat oven to 375° and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Carefully transfer pies to baking sheet, leaving a couple inches in between each one as they will puff up.
  • Create an egg wash with one beaten egg and a few drops of water. Brush the tops of the pies, and sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until pies are a deep golden brown color. Remove from oven, and cool on a wire rack. (If using maple glaze, skip the cinnamon and sugar.)
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