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Soul Food: Sampling of Recipes

African American Cookery: History & Resources

Sweet potato pie

Sweet potato pie "along with molasses pie, is perhaps one of the African-American pies with the longest history."

  1. 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
  2. 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  3. 1-1/2 cups boiled mashed sweet potatoes
  4. 1/2 cup applesauce
  5. 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  6. 1/3 cup milk
  7. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  8. 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest
  9. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  10. 1/2 teaspoon freshly grates nutmeg
  11. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  12. 1 baked, cooled 9-inch pie shell.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a deep bowl, cream the butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the cooked mashed sweet potatoes and the applesauce.  Add the eggs and beat vigorously.  Continue to beat while adding the milk, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla, nutmeg, and salt.  Continue beating until the mixture is creamy and smooth.  Pour the sweet potato mixture into the fully baked pie shell and bake for 10 minutes.  Then lower the temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 35 minutes longer or until firm (a knife should come out clean when inserted into the center of the pie).

From The Welcome Table

Maryland crab cakes

"Seafood is the hallmark of coastal African-American cooking.  The Chesapeke region is noted for its crabs; shrimp, she-crabs, and oysters turn up in many dishes from the Carolina Low Country, while shrimp and crayfish define the tastes of the Gulf area."

  1. 1-1/2 pounds fresh backfin crab meat
  2. 1 egg
  3. 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  4. Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  5. Salt, freshly ground black pepper, and Tabasco, to taste
  6. 5 tablespoons of butter

Pick over the crab to ensure that there are no pieces of shell or cartilage.  Combine the crab meat, egg, mayonnaise, and seasonings in a bowl and mix well.  Form the mixture into small cakes with your hands and refrigerate half of them.  Heat half of the butter in a heavy cast-iron skillet, and when it foams, saute the crab cakes over medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.   Remove and keep them warm while repeating the same cooking process with the second batch.  Serve hot.  Serve 4 to 6.

From The Welcome Table

Pepper cheese grits souffle

"This recipe is a culinary history of African-Americans in itself, an amalgram of Native American hominy grits, contemporary Monterey Jack pepper cheese, Africa's taste for the hot, and France's souffle."

  1. 3/4 cup instant hominy grits
  2. 1/2 cup grated jalapeno Monterey Jack cheese
  3. 3 eggs, separated
  4. 2 tablespoons salted butter
  5. 1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare the grits according to the directions on the package.  When the grits are cooked, remove them from the heat and beat in the cheese, egg yolks, and butter.  Allow the mixture to cool slightly.  Whisk the whites until they are foamy.  Add the cream of tartar and continue to whisk until the whites form stiff peaks.  Fold the whites into the grits and cheese dish.  Bake for 30 minutes, or until the souffle has risen and browned on the top.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4.

From The Welcome Table

Puree of peanuts

Original Carver recipe from The Historical Cookbook of the American Negro.
  • 1 pint of peanuts blanched and ground  
  • 1 pint of milk
  • 1/2 cup of cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 egg, well beaten
Let the milk and cream come to a boil; stir in all the other ingredients; add more milk if too thick; salt and papper to taste; serve at once with peanut wafers.

Recipe books in Begley Library: