Kwanzaa Culinarians

Recipes and Food Stories from the African Diaspora

Uhma’s Sweet Potato Pie

Sweet Potatoes
Modern grandmas are kinda funny to me. Many of them spend endless hours trying to come up with a clever name for the new grandchild to call them. They ask their spouses, friends, coworkers–and even the new parents themselves for their opinion on what “grandma” should be called. What about Nana, Me-ma, or Granny? Uh, how about… grandma?

The funny thing about this whole endearing process is that when kids begin to talk and form personal bonds–they will arrive at a name for you–and they don’t waste time (like the adults) getting other people’s opinion on the subject.

When my son started using words to get my mom’s attention, the words he uttered were not Me-ma, Nana, or even Grandma. It was “Uhma,” and what’s even funnier, is that he called my mom’s mom (his great-grandmother), “Uhma-ma”.

So my message to future grandmas–don’t worry yourself trying to come up with “your name”–grandkids are good at figuring that sort of thing out!

In honor of my mom, my grandma, and generations of literal and fictive grandmas that have loved us, spanked us, educated us, protected us, and fed us throughout the years–Happy Kwanza!

Uhma’s Sweet Potato Pie
Homemade sweet potato pie is real Southern comfort food and a staple at my mom’s holiday dinner table.
Makes 4 pies.

1 stick butter, softened
5 large baked sweet potatoes (about 5 pounds), mashed
3 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
1 can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon yellow food coloring
4 (9-inch) frozen pie crust

Bake whole, unpeeled sweet potatoes for 1 hour or until done. A thin knife should be able to go through each potato easily. Run cold water over sweet potatoes to cool slightly. Peel with a knife, removing any strings from the potato with the skin.

Break apart sweet potatoes in a mixing bowl. Add butter and combine well with a mixer. Stir in sugar, eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth.

Pour filling into unbaked pie shells. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45-50 minutes, until brown, or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool.

Tonya Peele is a mom, inspiring foodie and the author of Quick Wins for Healthy Eating: Easy Changes You and Your Family Can Make Now. By eating in more than she eats out, she has lost 30 pounds, reclaimed her health and discovered new ways to connect her family with real food. For quick recipes with healthy ingredients, visit Tonya’s blog, Follower her on Twitter @thequickdish1.

About Sanura

Art Director/Senior Graphic Designer at Food Writer at

3 comments on “Uhma’s Sweet Potato Pie

  1. Pingback: Pearl’s Fried Corn « Kwanzaa Culinarians

  2. Tonya@TheQuickDish
    December 25, 2012

    Thanks Lisa! Hope you get to enjoy a great slice of potato pie this holiday season!


  3. Lisa Johnson (@AnaliFirst)
    December 23, 2012

    Love this recipe and wise words indeed!


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This entry was posted on December 23, 2012 by in 2012, Personal Story, Recipe and tagged , , , , , .

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Learn more about Kwanzaa

The word "Kwanzaa" comes from the phrase, "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first-fruits." Kwanzaa's extra "a" evolved as a result of a particular history of the Organization Us. It was clone as an expression of African values in order to inspire the creativity of our children. In the early days of Us, there were seven children who each wanted to represent a letter of Kwanzaa. Since kwanza (first) has only six letters, we added an extra "a" to make it seven, thus creating "Kwanzaa." To learn more about Kwanzaa, visit the Official Kwanzaa Website.

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