My friend, Rose McGee, has a passion for life, a passion for people, and a passion for food, especially sweet potato pie.
I met Rose several years ago when I first joined Women Who Really Cook, a Twin-Cities-based networking organization for women who work in a food-related career. Rose is also a member, and at the time I first met her, she was getting her new business, Deep Roots Desserts, off the ground.
I asked Rose if she’d help us celebrate Black History Month by sharing a recipe for Sweet Potato Pie that she developed along with some of her thoughts. You’ll feel Rose’s warmth and passion as you read what she has to say in response to some questions I asked.
On Saturday, February 27th, at 1:00, you can meet Rose during a celebration of Black History Month at Macy’s downtown Minneapolis store. You’ll get the sweet-and-lowdown from Rose, owner of Deep Roots Desserts, on baking sweet potato pie. Rose will show you why her famous pie received the prestigious honor to be chosen for a 2009 Presidential Inauguration party in Washington, D.C. Writer, producer and director of “Kumbayah…The Juneteenth Story,” the multi-talented Rose is currently completing her next book, Can’t Nobody Make a Sweet Potato Pie Like My Mama, a book that joyfully captures the history of the sacred dessert of African Americans — the sweet potato pie, of course.
I hope you’ll make Rose’s pie. It may not taste exactly like Rose’s own homemade pie, or her Mama’s, or her grandmother’s, but for sure it will be delicious!
Thanks for sharing, Rose!
1. What is the history of sweet potato pie — yours especially?
A form of this dessert traces back to the Renaissance Era in terms of mixing spices with sweet potatoes. However, what we know as a "sweet potato pie" today goes back to slavery in this country. Later Dr. George Washington Carver did a great deal of research not only with the peanut, but with the sweet potato as well. His is one of the first recorded recipes. BUT not the first. You’ll have to read my book for that little tidbit.
Over time the dessert became what I consider to be the "sacred dessert" of black culture. However, the inspiration for my making the pies began over 30 years ago by accident. I was young, wanted to impress some guests and decided to try making one,. Total flop. Called my grandmother for some guidance. Over time, I began adding a bit of this and a bit of that and came up with my interpretation of her pie and my aunt’s pie and my friend’s grandmother’s pie…you get the picture. One thing about the whole process of trying to get everyone’s recipe whose pie I respected – NO ONE had their recipe written down. It was all recorded in their heads and moreso their hearts. Thus the reason it’s so important to publish this book, "Can’t Nobody Make A Sweet Potato Pie Like My Mama," a book that joyfully captures the history of the sacred dessert of African Americans – the sweet potato pie of course.
8. Anything else you want to tell us?
Sweet Potato Pie
A Recipe Created by Rose McGee, Owner Deep Roots Gourmet Desserts
Ingredients (makes two 9” Pies):
- 4 sweet potatoes, cooked
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1-stick of butter, melted
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- 1 tablespoon nutmeg
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup milk (whole, evaporated or condensed)
- 1 teaspoon lemon extract
- 2 unbaked pie shells
Directions: (use a hand-mixer or KitchenAid™ type mixer)
In a large mixing bowl, mash cooked sweet potatoes.
Blend in sugar. Blend in eggs. Blend in melted butter.
One at a time, add next 6 ingredients; mix well.
Pour into pie shells.
Preheat oven at 400 degrees; then reduce heat to 350 degrees.
Bake 60 minutes or until well set. Remove from oven.
Allow to set for at least 30 minutes. Eat warm or allow
to cool longer before eating. Sweet potato pie can be left at room
temperature up to two days without refrigeration. Can be refrigerated
up to one week and remain fresh. Can also be frozen.
More about Rose:
Rose McGee was born in Jackson, Tennessee and grew up around women who cooked. Her grandmother, great-grandmothers, great aunts and home economics teacher all stressed the importance of knowing how to manage a home and especially the kitchen. Today, she is one of 400 Minnesota ladies who make up the organization, Women Who Really Cook. Her business, Deep Roots Gourmet Desserts™ features her own delicious and exotic creations – Sweet Potato Pie and Mango Cobbler. Over the past four years, these products have gained tremendous popularity at the Midtown Global Market, the Minneapolis Farmers Market, Twin Cities Food and Wine Show and received accolades from Sue Zellickson in Minnesota Monthly Magazine and WCCO Radio. Appreciative customers always say, “It’s the best!”
Rose McGee has been featured in Food Network News, Edible Twin Cities Magazine, KARE 11 and Fox Channel 9. She recently demonstrated how to make organic Sweet Potato Pie at the Minnesota State Fair while her original Chocolate Sweet Potato Pie has been a delight at the Twin Cities Chocolate Extravaganza. The Calhoun Coffee Festival honored Deep Roots Gourmet Desserts with “The Best Taste Award”.