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Sweet Potato Pie with Fonio Crust

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November 17, 2021 by Amethyst Ganaway

Sweet potatoes are used a lot in cooking throughout the African diaspora, and one of my favorite ways to eat them as a Southerner is in a sweet potato pie. Warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice wafting through the air brings cozy, holiday, family vibes. If you don’t have a secret family recipe passed down to you (we can’t all be so lucky!), you can impress your guests (and yourself) this year with this easy canned sweet potato pie with a gluten-free fonio crust. It’s easy to make for even the most novice baker and good enough to eat year round.


For the Crust
  • cup​​ Yolélé fonio, cooked according to package and cooled
  • 1 ½  cups​ oat flour
  • cup​ almond flour
  • tablespoons granulated sugar
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • tablespoons​​ butter, cubed and chilled
  • egg yolk
  • teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pound dry beans or pie weights (to blind bake the crust)
For the Filling
  • 1 ½  cups canned sweet potatoes or 2 to 3 roasted, peeled, and puréed medium sweet potatoes
  • ½  cup white sugar
  • ½  cup brown sugar
  • tablespoons (½ stick) butter, softened
  • ¼  cup evaporated milk
  • teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼  teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½  teaspoon ground allspice
  • ½  teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼  teaspoon kosher salt
  • large eggs, beaten well


  • 01 .  

    Add the flours, sugar, salt, and butter to a bowl. Rub your hands together quickly, letting the butter and dry ingredients come together in between. Continue rubbing until the mixture resembles sand (this method is also known as “sanding”).

  • 02 .  

    Add egg, cooked and cooled fonio, and vanilla to butter mixture and gently knead until dough is formed. Roll into a ball and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

  • 03 .  

    Preheat the oven to 350℉. Unwrap dough. Tearing off large hunks, mold it into a 9” pie dish. Distribute evenly, making sure the crust is about ½-inch thick. You may have leftover dough depending on the exact size of your dish.

  • 04 .  

    Cover the crust with parchment paper and add dried beans or pie weights. Bake for 30 minutes, or until dough is fully set and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove and let fully cool at room temperature, about 15 minutes.

  • 05 .  

    In a large bowl or stand mixer, mix all of the filling ingredients together, add the beaten eggs last and mix well to incorporate.

  • 06 .  

    Pour the filling into the crust and smooth the top. Carefully place into the oven and bake until the center has set and a toothpick comes out clean in the middle, about 1 hour. Let fully cool (about 2 hours) on the counter uncovered before slicing and serving. Serve with whipped cream and/or vanilla ice cream.