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Pumpkin pie or sweet potato pie?

In my family, every holiday gathering includes a sweet potato pie or 4? I was somewhat stunned to "discover" the pumpkin pie at the ripe age of 25 and loved it! So, of course I requested for Thanksgiving the next year and met the stunned, confuzzled face of my 85 year old grandmother who refused to even attempt it. Just thought I'd pose a question the Chow crew: sweet potato or pumpkin pie?

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  1. I only like pumpkin piesde from longneck pumpkins so I would lean towards sweet potato but I have only eaten it once.

    1. Both for different reasons. Pumpkin pie for the pudding craving...sweet potato for the savory craving. I don't spice them the same. Pumpkin is spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla bean, ginger and a touch of mace. Sweet pototo is spiced with ground black pepper, cardamom and ginger.

      6 Replies
      1. re: HillJ

        You suddenly made me want to try sweet potato pie!

        1. re: sueatmo

          I sure hope you will. It's delicious. I should add that I use a ground nut crust for sweet potato pie that is only slightly salted and no crust for pumpkin pie.

        2. re: HillJ

          Have you ever tried to switch the spices? I don't make pies much, but use the purees interchangeably in pumpkin bread. Couldn't a sweet potato pie be just as custardy as pumpkin pie?

          1. re: paulj

            Sure paulj, loads of experimenting to try out diff spice combos, batter consistency, types of squash and recipe uses. When I make squash souffles or mousse I also experiment and much of my sweet potato pie baking using these specific spices is as a result of experimenting with small batches of squash pies.

          2. re: HillJ

            black pepper n sweet potato pie?

            Must be a new addition.

            1. re: Kashmirgirl

              Actually my full comments was, spiced with ground black pepper, cardamom and ginger in a sweet potato pie. And yes, a version I enjoy very much savory not sweet.

          3. Both, different other than color as HillJ says. SP is a denser texture, while pumpkin is more pudding-like. Both also last a while, so leftover appropriate.

            1. Pumpkin chiffon pie slays regular pumpkin pie. Sorry if that doesn't answer the question but since I don't have a recipe for sweet potato chiffon pie, I can't really compare the two thoroughly.

              1. Basic Old Time Sweet Potato..

                1. we have always had pumpkin pie, however, a few years back someone at work took a sweet potato pie and boy was it good. Since I don't know how to bake sweet potato I will go with pumpkin.

                  1. In my experience, the sweet potato pie has always taste sweeter and the pumpkin pie more cinnamon/nutmegy. I'll have to pay attention to any texture differences this year AKA excuse to eat more pie

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      Most of the flavor we usually associate with pumpkin comes from the 'pumpkin spices'. More than likely, a pumpkin pie shake (e.g. from McD or Jack) does not have any pumpkin in it.

                      1. re: paulj

                        Yes, one of my biggest fall annoyances - the sudden obsession with "pumpkin." It's just a mixture of spices that the entire world seems after.

                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                          I adore pumpkins but the recent popularity has definately diluted the annual experience. Other than the Pumpkin Latte ice cream Starbucks out this year, I skipped right to my own tried and true recipes...and kept a list just for giggles of the unusual and creepy commerical brands that went full on pumpkin crazy this season. Pringles pumpkin spice chips were the line-in-the-sand moment for me.

                          Baking your own pie is the way to go!

                    2. Pumpkin. Always. It is AG's favorite.

                      1. I love good pumpkin pie. I put rum in mine. Challenge this year: I have baked an organic local pie pumpkin and don't think it has much flavor - I am trying to decide whether to use that or a can of Libby's for T'Giving.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: sandylc


                          sandylc, if you enjoy a savory pie then something like this using your local pumpkin puree would work nicely as a full pie or individual serving (as shown).

                          1. re: HillJ

                            Wow, that looks REALLY good....

                            1. re: sandylc

                              It is! The food blogger is a rad recipe swapper; right up my alley. I've riffed the ingredient list several times but the concept is terrific.

                          2. re: sandylc

                            My brother makes pumpkin pie using butternut squash. He buys the butternut squash, halves--bakes-scoops--mashes it. Then uses that as "pumpkin." It's pretty good---good enough for me to spend time writing in chowhound about it, anyway. The sweet potato pie is sounding mighty good, though.

                          3. Make a pie with a combination of both. It's actually one of the best ways to get that "pumpkin-y" taste.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: ipsedixit

                              Matter of personal taste. I dislike the combo in the same pie. The texture changes.

                            2. Both. I love pumpkin pie for its sweetness and it works well with whipped cream; however, I love sweet potato pie for cultural reasons. It's a standard pie in Southern/Soul food circles. So, I grew up with it and I still love it.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Kashmirgirl

                                Sounds like the differences, and disagreements, have a lot to do with tradition. For some sweet potato pie is a deeply traditional dish, tied to a culture. Pumpkin pie, perhaps, isn't quite so traditional, or at least is well known in its contemporary form around the USA (e.g. using Lybbies mix).

                                Since I don't have Southern roots, I don't have any expectations on how sweet potato pie should be seasoned, or how light or heavy the custard should be. Sweet potato puree may be drier, but that can be easily adjusted.

                                1. re: paulj

                                  I agree wholeheartedly. I was just surprised by the addition of black pepper.

                                  1. re: Kashmirgirl

                                    Kashm, any particular spices you like to use in either pie that is off the beaten pie track? I love to experiement with flavors.

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      Apple butter in the pumpkin pie instead of sugar. You get the sweetness with the sugar sickness. I'm really interested in the black pepper in the sweet potato. Does it give a spicier than normal (e.g. nutmeg) kick?

                              2. I've been making this sweet potato pie recipe since reading the article in 2004. The family (30+ people) love it.


                                2 Replies
                                1. re: jnk

                                  Interesting crunchy topping on that version, jnk!

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    It really is delicious. The recipe is enough for two pies so I make one with nuts and one without

                                2. Sweet potato for me. In my family it is usually in a casserole instead of in a pie crust.
                                  I grew some Hubbard squash last year and my wife has been making a spiced bread loaded with walnuts.

                                  1. Not to divert the post, but 2 quick questions:

                                    We usually store the pies overnight Wednesday to Thursday on the counter, but how do you store them after the dinner? Is it OK to leave them on the counter for a few days?

                                    Do you have a sweet potato and/or pumpkin pie temperature preference? Cold, room temperature, warm?

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                      I've found that the refrigerater is fine for pumpkin pie, which is a custard. Just make sure your crust is well-baked and brown to avoid gumminess. I've also discovered that pumpkin pie is better two days after baking - the flavors develop with a bit of aging. This goes strongly against my basic pie philosophy of never serving a pie to guests that wasn't baked that day. We live and learn.....

                                      1. re: sandylc

                                        Do you let it come to RT before eating?

                                        1. re: fldhkybnva

                                          I would for guests. Great cold when looking for a snack, though!

                                        2. re: sandylc

                                          OK I will leave the pumpkin in the fridge, how long can I leave the sweet potato pie on the counter before it should be definitively fridge-bound?

                                        3. re: fldhkybnva

                                          We keep them in our cold pantry which is usually during a cold NJ fall both chilly & room temp at the same time.

                                        4. Kabocha pumpkin! More flavorful, sweeter, denser, and maybe even more ORANGE than any pie pumpkin I've tasted.