slice of pie on a plate

Thanksgiving might look a little different for everyone this year, but that doesn’t mean pie is uninvited to the dessert table. Put this black-bottom sweet potato pudding pie at the top of the list; with a sweet graham cracker crust, layers of homemade chocolate pudding and sweet potato pudding and a fluffy whipped topping, you’ll want to make room for slice after slice of this decadent dessert.

You might be one of those people who always wants a pumpkin or apple pie at the Thanksgiving dessert table, and I get it — I love me some traditional pies, too (or traditional pies with a caramel-drizzled twist). But since a lot of us are throwing traditions out the window this year, let’s consider making a change — or an addition — to our pie repertoires, as well. What I’m saying is this black-bottom sweet potato pudding pie needs to be a part of your holiday menu this Thanksgiving, and I promise you there will be no regrets.

full pie in pie plate

What is a Black-Bottom Pie?

When I first discovered the goodness that is a black-bottom pie, I wondered two things to myself: 1) Why had I not discovered this before? and 2) How can I henceforth make this a component of all pies? A black-bottom pie is, in the broadest sense, any pie with a sneaky layer of chocolate between the crust and the filling/topping. In some cases, the chocolate is a ganache-like layer; in others, such as this pie, it’s more of a pudding. In all instances, it’s downright DELICIOUS, and if you serve a black-bottom pie to anyone without telling them what it is, I guarantee 100% of the time your recipients will be pleased to find a surprise layer of chocolate in their pie slices.

In the case of this pie, there are several layers to behold: The first is, of course, the graham cracker crust, arguably my favorite type of pie crust. The second layer is the aforementioned chocolate pudding (hold me). The third layer is the most scrumptious, velvety-smooth sweet potato pudding that I could eat on its own with a spoon in copious amounts. And the final layer is a floofy mountain of whipped cream and/or whipped topping. Everything comes together with only 30 minutes of prep time, 35 minutes of cook time and what will feel like an eternity until it’s ready to eat but TRUST me — it’s worth the wait.

pie in pie plate with slice taken out

Ingredients You’ll Need for Black-Bottom Sweet Potato Pudding Pie

I always feel like a broken record when I state this, but it forever bears repeating: When it comes to desserts, high-quality ingredients = high-quality results. You can’t cover up a ho-hum dessert with a little more salt or a pretty garnish; It’s all about the ingredients that come together in the prep that make or break a dessert worth repeating. SO — that said, every you need for this pie is easy to find! Here’s the rundown:

  • Graham crackers, for the crust
  • Sugar
  • Butter (always the sign of a good thing coming)
  • Sweet potatoes (make sure to use the orange ones, sometimes called yams, for that pleasant orange-colored mid-layer!)
  • Egg yolks (for the pudding, YUS)
  • Milk (please use at least 2%, preferably whole, milk for this recipe. Anything less will make the pie taste lackluster)
  • Cornstarch
  • Cream cheese
  • Dark rum (optional, but 2 tablespoons will go a long way to making this pie taste extra-good)
  • Bittersweet chocolate (bar or chips!)
  • Whipped cream or whipped topping, homemade or storebought (I won’t judge)

What I love about this recipe is that, for all its uniqueness, the ingredients it requires are really straightforward and simple — no need to go to umpteen grocery stores to find just what you need to make it.

slices of pie on plates

How to Make Black-Bottom Sweet Potato Pudding Pie

You’ve got your ingredients: check. You’ve got a hankering for a really delicious pie: check. Now all that’s left is to make it! Here’s how we do:

Time needed: 10 hours and 5 minutes.

  1. Step One: Make the graham cracker crust.

    In a medium bowl, stir together crushed graham crackers, sugar and melted butter until everything looks like coarse sand. Press the mixture firmly into the bottom and sides of a glass/ceramic pie plate, then bake at 350°F for about 10 minutes or until the crust is golden and set. Set aside to cool.

  2. Step Two: Make the pudding base.

    In a small saucepan, cook sweet potato chunks until tender. Drain and puree in a food processor. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and a bit of sugar together in a bowl. In a saucepan, whisk milk, cornstarch and more sugar over medium heat until the mixture thickens slightly and starts to bubble. Whisk some of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, then whisk all of the egg yolk mixture into the hot milk mixture in the saucepan. Continue to whisk everything together until a thick, pudding-like mixture forms. Off the heat, whisk in the cream cheese and rum, if using.

  3. Step Three: Assemble the pie.

    In a small bowl, microwave the bittersweet chocolate until melted. Stir some of the pudding mixture into the chocolate to create a chocolate pudding. Spread the pudding into the bottom of your prepared pie crust; chill until set. Meanwhile, mix the sweet potato puree with the remaining pudding mixture to create a sweet potato pudding. Cover and chill in the fridge while the chocolate layer sets; once set, top the chocolate pudding with the sweet potato pudding. Cover the pie and let it set in the fridge overnight.

  4. Step Four: Top and serve.

    The next day, just before serving, top the pie with whipped cream. Use a clean, sharp knife to slice the pie into pretty slices. Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 more days.

And that, my friends, is how you take the journey to get this pie from idea to your face.

slice of pie on a plate with remaining pie in background

Tips for A Really Good Pie

To be honest, pie was not always my favorite thing to make: It can be fussy or finicky and I get real mad when I put all this effort into prepping a pie for it to just fall apart on me. I get it!

Friends: THIS IS NOT THAT PIE. This pie is your BFF. This pie will not defeat you or disappoint you. This pie is the pie you make when you just need a win (and don’t we all right now?). That being said, there are always tips and tricks to keep in mind as you follow your bliss to the eating part of this black-bottom sweet potato pie. So, here’s what you need to know:

  • Be sure to press the graham cracker crust FIRMLY and EVENLY into the pie plate. Packing the crust in the plate as best as you can helps it bake together better, so you end up with a solid pie crust instead of crumbs everywhere.
  • Please, please follow the directions as written for the pudding. Since you’ll be doing a lot of whisking, stirring, adding, looking for bubbles and thickness, etc., be sure to read through the pudding prep portion of the recipe first, and follow it to a T. If the pudding is too thin, it won’t set; too thick, it will be globby. It’s a super-easy pudding to make, but only if you do it as written!
  • I cannot guarantee any ingredient swaps that aren’t listed in the Recipe or Recipe Notes below. I haven’t tested this recipe using alternative ingredients, so I can’t speak to their success. Feel free to experiment, but know that if you stray in any way from the recipe as written, I can’t promise it will turn out as well!
  • Use a sharp, clean knife for every cut into the pie. I like to wipe the blade of my knife clean after each cut into the pie so every slice showcases those beautiful layers. Having a sharp knife will also ensure you slice through the crust without breaking it into pieces.

I don’t know about you, but I’m extra-thankful for pie this season — because no matter what’s going on in the rest of the world, I know that pie will always be a good choice.

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slice of pie on a plate

Black-Bottom Sweet Potato Pudding Pie

  • Author: Stephanie
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 9-inch pie 1x
  • Category: Dessert
  • Method: Cook
  • Cuisine: American

Description

A delicious twist on traditional sweet potato pie, this dessert is made with a sweet graham cracker crust, two layers of pudding (one chocolate, one sweet potato) and a whipped topping to finish it off. Trust me — this pie won’t last long at the table.


Scale

Ingredients

For the graham cracker crust:

  • 12 full sheets graham crackers (about 1 1/2 cups crushed)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted

For the pie:

  • 3/4 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum (optional)
  • 4 oz bittersweet chocolate bar, roughly chopped OR 3/4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups whipped cream or whipped topping

Instructions

  1. First, make the pie crust: Heat oven to 350°F. In a food processor, pulse graham cracker sheets until finely crushed. Transfer to a small bowl; stir in 1/3 cup sugar and butter until mixture resembles coarse sand.
  2. Use hands or the bottom of a drinking glass to press mixture evenly and firmly into bottom and sides of a 9-inch round pie plate. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until crust is golden brown and just set. Set aside to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, make the pie filling: Add cubed sweet potatoes to a small saucepan. Add just enough cold water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer over medium-low heat 15 minutes or until potatoes are fork-tender. Drain, then transfer potatoes to a clean food processor. Process potatoes until very smooth.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks with 1/4 cup sugar. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together remaining 1/4 cup sugar with milk and cornstarch. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and begins to thicken. Whisk half of milk mixture into yolk mixture in bowl, then whisk yolk mixture into remaining milk mixture in pan. Continue to cook over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes, whisking constantly, until pudding boils and thickens considerably. Remove from heat; whisk in cream cheese and rum, if desired.
  5. Place chocolate in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on High 1 minute; stir. Continue to microwave on High in 15-second increments until chocolate is fully melted and smooth. Stir 3/4 cup pudding into melted chocolate until well combined. Pour chocolate pudding into pie crust; spread evenly into bottom. Chill in refrigerator 1 hour or until set.
  6. Stir remaining pudding into sweet potato puree; cover and chill until chocolate layer is set. Spread sweet potato pudding over chocolate pudding in pie crust. Cover pie loosely with plastic wrap, then chill at least 8 hours or overnight.
  7. Top pie with whipped cream just before serving. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Notes

  • Recipe adapted from Sweet Potatoes by Mary-Frances Heck.
  • The rum is totally optional, but it does make the pie taste that much more sophisticated!
  • Short on time, ingredients or energy? Feel free to use a premade graham cracker pie crust for this recipe.
  • Swap the whipped cream for a mixture of 1 cup whipped topping + 1 cup marshmallow fluff for extra flavor.

Keywords: sweet potato pudding, chocolate pudding, graham cracker crust, sweet potato pie, black bottom pie

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