Sweet Potato Orange Custard

Recipe and photo contributed by Johnisha Levi Yield:  5 six-ounce servings
Prep Time:  10 minutes Cook Time:  45 minutes

Sweet Potato Orange Custard

Pie filling or custard? You decide. This delicious filling—also the star of our New School Sweet Potato Pie—is good enough to stand on its own, without any crust.


2½ cups of sweet potato puree (from 3 pounds of baked sweet potatoes; see Kitchen Tip #1)

½ cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs

1 egg yolk

1 cup heavy cream

¼ cup maple syrup (preferably Grade A medium or anything lighter in flavor than Grade B)

1 to 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (optional)

2 teaspoons orange zest

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon mace

¼ teaspoon white pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 300 °F.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add the sugar to the sweet potato puree and beat on low speed until combined.
  3. Add the eggs and yolk to the sweet potato. When the eggs are fully incorporated, add the heavy cream, maple syrup, Grand Marnier (if using), and zest.
  4. Last, add the cinnamon, mace, and white pepper. Ladle the filling into ramekins and set in a shallow water bath of tepid water.
  5. Bake until custard is lightly set in the middle and no longer wobbles, approximately 45 minutes. Cool briefly on a wire rack before serving.

Kitchen Tips

  1. I am a huge proponent of baking, instead of boiling or microwaving sweet potatoes. It is worth the time for the deeper flavor that you can coax out of them. Baked sweet potatoes take on beautiful notes of brown sugar and caramel. I punch holes in the sweet potatoes with a fork, wrap them in foil, and bake them on a sheet pan (to catch any escaping liquid) for about 1 ½ to 2 hours at 400 F, until they are squishy to the touch. Let them cool enough to handle, and the skin will peel off very easily. The potato inside will become incredibly tender. To achieve an extra silky pie custard, I put the potatoes through a ricer (or a food mill if you have one). Do you have to do either of these steps? No. But if you do, you will be very pleased with the result.
  2. You can serve these little custards both hot or cold. For a garnish, whip up some Chantilly cream and top with a bit of crystallized ginger or gingersnap crumbs.

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