The Secret Ingredient For Simple Sweet Potato Pie

Have you ever tried sweet potato pie? If you're American, there's a good chance you have: Still a favorite dessert at the Thanksgiving table (via Tylt), the pie that features a smooth, dense, spiced filling has been baked up in American households since colonial times, according to Greatist. The dessert's rivalry with its cousin, pumpkin pie, may have started almost as early, according to the outlet, but sweet potato pie really took off in the American South, where the crop, introduced from West Africa by way of Peru, readily grew, according to The Washington Post. Today, sweet potato pie is particularly emblematic of the South, a treasured dish within the soul food canon.

If thinking about sweet potato pie has you craving some, we suggest you try your hand at making one at home — whether it's the holiday season or not. Our recipe for Simple Sweet Potato Pie utilizes pre-made pie crust and canned sweet potato purée, and requires just 10 minutes of prep time. Plus, it features a tasty secret ingredient that recipe developer Miriam Hahn says makes it stand out among other versions of this beloved dessert.

A touch of coconut sugar sweetens this decadent dessert

Many sweet potato pie recipes call for either brown sugar or a combination of brown and white sugars to sweeten the filling, such as this version from Epicurious. But, recipe developer Miriam Hahn's take on Simple Sweet Potato Pie features coconut sugar, a natural sugar substitute that's made by collecting the sap of coconut palm trees and then evaporating most of the liquid under heat (via Healthline).

Touted for its superior health profile as compared to refined white sugar, coconut sugar also boasts a deeply caramelized flavor that perfectly accents the sweet potatoes used in Hahn's pie recipe. "Coconut sugar is similar to brown sugar but has a caramel taste, adding a great flavor to this pie," Hahn told Tasting Table. "I also like using it because it is slightly less processed than white cane sugar and contains the soluble fiber inulin which helps reduce a blood sugar hike." A nice extra bonus if you don't use up all your coconut sugar in one go? "It also doesn't turn rock hard when storing it, an added plus over brown sugar," Hahn noted. So the next time the holidays — or a random weeknight that would be enhanced by pie — roll around, try swapping your brown sugar for coconut sugar and enjoying this unique dessert.