Sweet Potato Pudding

Pumpkin Pie has been an American favorite for generations and this recipe could be its twin. The Southern Sweet Potato Pie took its cue from this earlier version of the classic 18th-century pudding and is still loved by many.

18th Century

Boil one pound of sweet potatos very tender, rub them while hot through a colander; add six eggs well beaten, three quarters of a pound of powdered sugar, three quarters of butter, and some grated nutmeg and lemon peel, with a glass of brandy; put a paste in the dish, and when the pudding is done, sprinkle the top with sugar, and cover it with bits of citron. Irish potato pudding is made in the same manner, but is not so good.

Randolph, Mary, “The Virginia Housewife,” 1827.


  • 1 sweet potato weighing slightly more than a pound
  • 5 large eggs
  • ¾ pound of sugar + 2 tsps. for the top
  • ¾ pound (or slightly less) butter
  • 1 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. fresh grated lemon peel
  • 2 to 4 oz. (according to your taste) French Brandy
  • ¼ to 1/2 cup of candied citron bits
  • 1 sheet puff pastry or regular pie crust (store bought or home made)
  1. Peel and boil sweet potato until soft. Drain it and let it cool slightly.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, mash the sweet potato with your hand so that there are little or no lumps.
  3. In a small bowl, melt the butter or make sure it is extremely soft.
  4. In another medium mixing bowl, beat the eggs thoroughly.
  5. Add the sugar, butter, nutmeg, lemon peel, and brandy to the eggs, mixing very well.
  6. Blend this into the mashed sweet potato thoroughly.
  7. Line your pie plate with the puff paste edging it with the design you like.
  8. Fill the pie to within a half inch of the top edge of the puff paste.
  9. Bake in a 375° oven for a half hour to forty minutes. DO NOT let the top get dark brown but make sure your puff paste is baked enough.
  10. Strew the 2 Tbsp. sugar over the top after it comes from the oven and garnish the edge with the citron. Let it cool before you cut and eat it.


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11 Responses to “Sweet Potato Pudding”

  1. November 6th, 2013

    Lacey says:

    Question about the original receipt. Is the assumption that “Irish” potatoes are white potatoes a good one?



  2. November 13th, 2013

    Historic Foodways says:

    Yes, your assumption is correct.
    Thanks for asking.

  3. December 21st, 2013

    Lani Tucker says:

    I have done something like this pudding and pie,using Carrots. It was in an Old Book.

  4. March 4th, 2014

    Gordon Clark says:

    Made this one today, it was delicious! Too delicious. I ate most of the pie myself. The recipe ended up making two pies worth of filling.

    I actually forgot the brandy and just putting in a splash of Riesling wine, but it still turned out great.

  5. July 1st, 2014

    Linda Shoun says:

    It sounds great, but I wince at the amount of butter. Any opinions as to how it might turn out with less, or much less of it?

    • July 2nd, 2014

      Frank Clark says:

      I would think you could replace the butter with margarine, or perhaps say 2/3rd cup of skim milk. I am not sure what effect it would have on the texture but it should taste fine. I will say as always feel free to alter and experiment! Our job is to replicate, but yours is to eat! So add what you like or subtract what you do not at will.

  6. November 16th, 2014

    Susan says:

    How much flour and butter is a pound?? In other words, how can I measure by cup?

  7. November 18th, 2014

    Susan says:

    Thank you. That is a lot of butter!!!!

  8. September 13th, 2016

    Ed says:

    Tried this receipt this past weekend. Loved it.

  9. September 22nd, 2016

    Deborah says:

    Dear Frank,
    The 18th c. receipt calls for powdered sugar but the 21st c. receipt calls for sugar. Which type of sugar is intended?
    Thank you!

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