November 24, 2014

Sister Schubert's Sweet Potato Pie {& 5 Holiday Personal Touches I Learned from Sister}

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In the South, nothing says the holidays like delicious pecan-topped sweet potatoes.  And my new favorite way to enjoy this classic Southern dish is Sister Schubert's Sweet Potato Pie!  Thank you so much to Sister Schubert for hosting me in her home, and for sponsoring this post.

A little bit ago in my Turkey & Stuffing Sliders post, I shared that I was going to have the great privilege of traveling to Sister Schubert's in Andalusia, Alabama to cook with her in her home.  Well I'm back, and I had an absolutely amazing time!  

Sister is truly one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I have had the pleasure to meet ... not to mention, the most gracious hostess, as well.  I'm so excited to share with you experiences from my trip, Sister Schubert's sweet potato pie, and 5 holiday personal touches I learned from Sister to make holiday guests feel extra special.  'Cause let me tell ya, Sister sure made me  feel extra special!

Sister invited five bloggers, including me, to her home to cook with her.  Here we are on the morning of our big day with Sister, about to head out to her home.  {Don't you just love how we're all color coordinated??  That wasn't planned.}

These wonderful ladies are {front row} Christy from Southern Plate and me! ~ Tracey, that is, {back row} Chris from Celebrations at Home, Paula from Call Me PMc, and Sommer from A Spicy Perspective.

And here's Sister, all ready to cook with us in her home's kitchen with her cute little Sister Schubert's apron on.  {She gave each of us one, too.  Mine had adorable polka dots.}

We started our cooking day by making Sister Schubert's famous Parker House Style rolls.  I even got to make my very own pan!  I think that's so cool, and a memory of cooking with Sister I will always cherish.

Sister had all the ingredients ready to go on her counter.

We helped Sister prepare the dough, and then she rolled it out and taught us how to prepare a pan of Parker House rolls.

Then we each cut, folded, and butter-dipped away to make our own pan.  The dough was so silky smooth and soft ... I could have worked with it all day.

Here I am with Sister and my freshly-made Sister Schubert's rolls.  My rolls weren't quite perfectly shaped, but give me a little bit of practice time and I know I could get it down.  

It was so much fun making the rolls!!  Who knows ... maybe some day I'll get to try my hand at making Sister Schubert's Pretzel Rolls ... or Cinnamon Rolls ... or Sausage Wrap Rolls.  I'd really love to have a try at making each one!

After making the rolls, each of us bloggers took a turn at preparing a dish with Sister for our Thanksgiving meal later that day.  I had the pleasure of making Sister Schubert's Sweet Potato Pie.

The recipe is straight out of Sister's cookbook,  "Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters" ... and it is soooooo good.  It's got a light and fluffy sweet potato filling, accented with orange zest, and topped with lots of dark-brown-sugar-and-pecan topping.

I mean, just look at all that topping?  Sister and I may have made just a teeny bit too much topping ... but we chose to just load it on, deciding you just can't have too much topping!  {I like the way Sister Schubert thinks.}

You know, besides serving great food, the most thoughtful hostesses infuse a personal touch in even the smallest details.  After having spent time with Sister in her home, I can absolutely tell you Sister Schubert is indeed an extremely thoughtful hostess.

I'd love to share with you 5 holiday personal touches I learned from Sister that will have holiday guests feeling extra welcomed and extra special, just as I did in Sister's home.

1.  Send a Personal Note
Several days before the dinner at her home, I received this personal note from Sister in the mail.

It warmed my heart to know that Sister was thinking of me and looking forward to my visit with her!  I think this is such a wonderful personal touch that we could all easily incorporate into our own lives and entertaining.

Don't feel you have time to snail-mail a personal note?  Or, prefer to communicate electronically?

Well, the Sister Schubert's team has created a fun little site to help us celebrate family and share holiday thoughts this holiday season ~ the Holiday Needlequotes site, allowing us to easily capture and share those little moments and sayings from our own family get-togethers.

Simply type your family-favorite quote into the site, add the name of the family member or person who said it, and choose from one of their design templates to create your very own quote ... like these ...

Do you like my 'Gobble 'til you wobble!' one?  I love saying that at the start of our family's Thanksgiving meal.  It always gets a chuckle.

The Needlequotes site gives you the option to e-mail your personalized needlequote, share it through Facebook or Twitter, or to save it to your computer.  It's just perfect for sharing out a non-snail-mail holiday personal note!

Now why would Sister Schubert's create a site based on needlepoint, you ask?

Well that's simple to answer.  Because Sister Schubert loves making needlepoint!

Here are some in-process needlepoints she's been working on.  I just loved seeing these in her living room when I was at her home.  They're so beautiful!

When she sent me my personal note, she even included a needlepoint-style luggage tag for my travels.  So sweet.

2.  Include Welcoming Little Touches
Including welcoming little touches like flowers, candles, and personalized place setting name cards are quick and easy ways to make holiday guests feel extra special.  It's that little extra personal touch that says to them, 'I'm so glad you're here.'

And Sister certainly said 'I'm so glad you're here,' with all her  welcoming little touches.

Votive candles on the dining tables, buffet table, and scattered throughout her home added such a feeling of warmth.  Small flower arrangements were not only beautiful, but welcoming.  And I especially loved Sister's flower arrangements in small hollowed-out pumpkins and votive candles nestled in fresh cranberries.  These little personal touches made me feel right at home. 

3.  Plan Ahead
We all know how busy we can get once guests start to arrive at our home, right?  Well, planning ahead for as many of the holiday meal or holiday get-together details as possible helps keep that busy time running smoothly.

And helps us focus on our guests instead of the details.

I love how Sister had planned ahead with the serving of our Thanksgiving dinner ... with all the serving dishes she'd need laid out in place on the buffet.

And labeled.

Labeled so she ... or anyone offering helping hands at serving time ... would know exactly where everything would need to go.  Genius.

Come serving time, it's easy to lay out a beautiful buffet.

Ah, see my scrumptious Sister Schubert's Sweet Potato Pie right there on the end?  It was the star of dinner!  Okay, so maybe it had equal billing with all the other yummy dishes ... but a girl can dream, right?

4.  Garnish with Fresh Herbs
A little touch of fresh herbs goes a long way in adding a personal touch to holiday plates.  A sprig of mint on a dessert plate ... a handful of fresh parsley on a serving platter.  A simple touch that makes big impact.

Sister kept a variety of fresh herbs in a basket ... an idea I will definitely be 'borrowing.'  Easily transported from outside to in, this is such a great way to keep fresh herbs at hand.  During our dinner event, the herb basket doubled as a beautiful centerpiece on her kitchen island ... and as the source of wonderful fresh garnishes.


Just a single sprig of fresh mint added a beautiful touch to our dessert plate.

Okay, now let's talk about the dessert plate for a minute ... 'cause it was one of the {many} wonderful surprises Sister had for us bloggers during our visit.  At some point during dinner, Sister announced that she had 'had a little fun with dessert' and had made an item from each of our blogs.

How sweet is that??

Yes, she had perused each of our blogs and selected a dessert item to make.  We were all so nervous wondering what she had chosen!!  She wouldn't tell us ... wanting it to be a surprise when the dessert plates were served.

And her choices, from left to right, were:
Lemon-Coconut Bars {turned tart} from Tracey at The Kitchen is My Playground {that's me!}
Cranberry Crunch from Christy at Southern Plate
Pumpkin Ice Cream from Chris at Celebrations at Home
Epic Brownies from Sommer at A Spicy Perspective
Applesauce Truffles from Paula at Call Me PMc

Being served one of my own creations in Sister Schubert's home, made by the hands of Sister herself, is one of those very thoughtful personal touches from our visit I'll always treasure.

5.  Use Leftovers to Share the Holiday Spirit
The last of the holiday personal touches I learned from Sister I'd like to share is to use leftovers as an opportunity to share the holiday spirit.

Sister has a wonderfully thoughtful and generous tradition of sharing her leftovers.  

When we cleared the dishes at the end of our meal, Sister lined up a whole bunch of plastic containers and proceeded to prepare leftovers 'care packages' for a few of her aged neighbors.  I just adore this tradition!  

What a kind way to share the holiday spirit.

Oh, and of course, add a personal touch to your holidays by serving some of your favorite foods.  Like Sister Schubert does with her famous Parker House Style rolls and scrumptious  Sweet Potato Pie.

I offer a huge thank you to Sister Schubert for welcoming me into her home.  And Sister ~ rest assured, I'll come cook {and eat!} with you ANYtime.

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Sister Schubert's Sweet Potato Pie
Source:  Shared with Sister Schubert's permission from her cookbook, "Cast Your Bread Upon the Waters"

(Printable recipe)
For the Pie Filling:
  • 2 lbs. sweet potatoes, prepared* and peels removed
  • 1/2 c. butter, softened
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2 c. evaporated milk
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 frozen deep-dish pie crusts
  • zest from 1 medium orange
For the Brown Sugar Topping:
  • 1 c. dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 c. cold butter, chopped into pea-sized pieces
  • 1 c. pecans, coarsely chopped
  1. PREPARE THE PIE: In a large mixing bowl, beat cooked sweet potatoes with butter until smooth. Add eggs, beating continuously, until well combined. Add sugar, milk, nutmeg and vanilla, beating well.
  2. Divide mixture into two piecrusts and sprinkle with orange zest. {Pie may be baked plain, or topped with Brown Sugar Topping.}
  3. PREPARE THE BROWN SUGAR TOPPING: Chop sugar, flour, and butter with a pastry blender or two knives until topping resembles coarse crumbs. Fold in pecans and sprinkle evenly over pie mixture.
  4. BAKE: Bake at 350 degrees on middle oven rack until center is set, approximately 45 to 50 minutes.
*Sweet potatoes may be baked until tender; bake with skins intact on a baking sheet at 350 degrees approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the potatoes.  Or, peel, slice, and boil the potatoes for approximately 30 minutes until tender.


I have been invited to participate in a Sister Schubert's ambassador program, and this post is sponsored by Sister Schubert's.  The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.


  1. is SO NEAT!!!!!! I cannot stop smiling as I read this post. What fun!!!!! What an awesome experience. So glad you got to do this. The meal, the other bloggers, Sister

  2. Replies
    1. You're so sweet, Jen. Thank you, dear friend! It was a blast.

  3. Enjoyed the post and pictures!!

  4. Looks like once in a life time experience. So happy for you. Sounds like you'll treasure this experience for life.

    1. I most certainly will treasure the experience for life, John. Sister Schubert is truly one of the most kind and gracious people I have ever met. Thanks for stopping by to read about my time with her!

  5. What a great day! I love those words printed :) And this sweet potato pie is a killer!!

  6. This pie sounds amazing and what a fun trip! Thanks for linking up with What's Cookin' Wednesday!

  7. Oh my! This looks so fun! Pinned and tweeted. We always love partying with you, I hope to see you tonight at 7 pm at our party. Happy Monday! Lou Lou Girls

  8. Looks amazing!! Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again this week!

  9. What a fabulous experience; thank you for sharing it with us. I love Sister Schubert rolls. I didn't realise she lived in Andalusia- that's not even 2 hours away from where I live. And thank you for the link to your Lemon Coconut Bars, because that is soooo going to happen this very weekend!!!

  10. I thought sister Schubert lived in Decatur, Al?


I love your comments. I read and appreciate each and every one. Thank you so much for visiting The Kitchen is My Playground! {NOTE: Captcha word verification is on to turn away the 'spambots' ... I apologize for the commenting inconvenience!}

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