Dr. Sharon Holland, Professor and Associate Chair in UNC’s Department of American Studies, has shared her grandmother Theola Priscilla Green Martin’s recipe for Sweet Potato Pie. Here’s the filling. You provide the crust of your choice. Dr. Holland suggests a “French-inspired buttery crust, circa 1970s.”

Mrs. Martin was raised in Oxford, North Carolina and was a fifth generation North Carolinian. “My grandmother was one of the most ethical people I have ever known,” writes Holland, “and she gifted to me my love of long-needle pines and woods on a cold winter morning.”

Priscilla’s Sweet Potato Pie
6 medium North Carolina sweet potatoes (8, if smaller)
3/4 cup brown sugar (taste as you add, depending on sweetness of your potatoes!)
3/4 cup molasses
2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. of nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 stick butter (4 tablespoons)
1 can evaporated milk
3 eggs (room temperature)

Makes enough filling for 4 normal size pies, not deep dish!

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with water. Boil the potatoes, remove skins, and let the potatoes cool. Mash potatoes, adding milk and eggs, then sugar and molasses, vanilla extract, salt, and spices. Mix gently until well combined. Divide sweet potato mixture into prepared pie shells. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 45 minutes or so, until the center has set. Place the pie on a rack to cool.

The upcoming holidays are full of celebrations with family, friends, and FOOD! With food in mind, we want to remind you of the UNC-Chapel Hill Academic Theme – FOOD FOR ALL!

Through FOOD FOR ALL, we hope to motivate conversations, research, and service surrounding food on campus, especially about the vital intersection of food, health, justice, and history. In this season of Thanksgiving, we have both thanking and giving on our mind. Here in the Triangle we are particularly thankful for the work of our local food banks and food relief organizations. Here are links to just two of the many local food assistance organizations in our area; Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. Let’s step up to help them!

Wishing you and our entire Carolina community a festive harvest season and a happy Thanksgiving!