Sweet Potato Pone Recipe

Sweet Potato Pone Recipe
Sweet Potato Pone is a popular dish in the South. It is one of the original “soul foods,” having been prepared and eaten on the slave ships that came to America. Recipes for this dish are featured in most Soul Food cookbooks. Some books suggest serving Sweet Potato Pone as a side dish with meats, but others claim that it is a dessert. After tasting this delicious baked pudding-type dish, I asked the question: “just what is a “pone” anyway.”

While researching this subject, I checked the American Heritage Dictionary which says, “The word pone, usually in the compound cornpone, is now used mainly in the South, where it means cakes of cornbread baked on a griddle or in hot ashes—as the Native Americans originally cooked it.”

Since that definition did not fit the Sweet Potato Pones I have eaten, I looked further and found a little more information at Infoplease:

Pronunciation: (pôn), [key]
—n. South Midland and Southern U.S.
1. Also called pone' bread". a baked or fried bread usually made of cornmeal.
2. a loaf or oval-shaped cake of any type of bread, esp. corn bread.

The problem is, no source that I consulted (and there were hundreds with information on Sweet Potato Pone) gave a definition that even comes close to the versions of Sweet Potato Pone that I have been testing. Sweet Potato Pone is definitely not a bread, nor is it made from corn. It is, in simple terms, a baked pudding.

I guess the reason that Sweet Potato Pone is called a Pone will have to remain a mystery! Preparation of the dish, however, doesn’t need to be a mystery, since I am including two of my favorite streamlined recipes for Sweet Potato Pone.

The traditional recipe includes molasses, which was used extensively as a sweetener on the plantations. The second recipe does not use molasses, and makes a milder flavored Pone. Both are delicious and go together very quickly, especially if you use the food processor to grate the sweet potatoes.

Traditional Sweet Potato Pone

8 Servings
2 eggs
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
Zest of 1 orange
1 medium, sweet potato, about 12 ounces

Mix the eggs, brown sugar, molasses, butter, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg until smooth; add the milk, orange zest, and grated sweet potatoes.

Butter a shallow 1 1/2 - 2 quart baking dish; pour in the mixture, smoothing out the surface.

Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 1 hour, until set and brown. Serve hot as a dinner accompaniment or room temperature in slices.

Amount Per Serving
Calories 183 Calories from Fat 69
Percent Total Calories From:
Fat 38% Protein 6% Carb. 56%

Nutrient Amount per
Total Fat 8 g
Saturated Fat 4 g
Cholesterol 71 mg
Sodium 245 mg
Total Carbohydrate 26 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 3 g

Vitamin A 178% Vitamin C 28% Calcium 0% Iron 14%

Southern Sweet Potato Pone

8 Servings
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 pinch salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
rind of 1 orange
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and finely grated (about two cups packed)
1/4 cup melted butter

Mix the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt, nutmeg and orange rind in a mixer bowl until smooth; add the sweet potatoes and butter.

Butter a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish. Pour the mixture into the dish. Bake in a preheated 350° oven for 60-75 minutes or until set and golden brown.

Amount Per Serving
Calories 231 Calories from Fat 74
Percent Total Calories From:
Fat 32% Protein 6% Carb. 62%

Nutrient Amount per
Total Fat 8 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Cholesterol 73 mg
Sodium 388 mg
Total Carbohydrate 36 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 4 g

Vitamin A 235% Vitamin C 33% Calcium 0% Iron 3%

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