Like a good pot of gumbo, Louisiana is filled with all kinds of good things. Each part of the state offers a unique culture all its own, but the underlying theme of good food and family values is always there. During a visit to Southwest Louisiana, the group I was touring with was treated to a beautiful afternoon in an historic Lake Charles neighborhood, Margaret Place.
Our guide, Adley Cormier, led us through a lush courtyard on the side of a stately brick home, around a rose bushes, to a pool house in the rear of the home. Waiting with a sweet treat was Mr. Cormier’s wife and Senator Willie Mount. Senator Mount and Mrs. Cormier wanted to share a tradition children’s afternoon snack: Fried Sweet Dough Sweet Potato Pie served with ice cold milk.
My family has been in Louisiana for many generations, with roots in the Baton Rouge area and across the river from the capital city. I’d never tried this treat that is a tradition in the Southwest part of the state. It was a delicious surprise. The Cormiers and Senator Mount shared stories of the area and their love of where they live. It was a delightful afternoon learning about another area of my home state.
The Lake Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau was kind enough to hunt down the recipe so that I could share it with you.
Fried Sweet Dough Sweet Potato Pie Recipe:
¼ pound butter
1 Cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
2 Cups flour
Combine eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla in a food processor. Pulse together until the ingredients are well-mixed. Sift the baking powder and the flour together and add this to the processor. Process the combined ingredients until they form a ball. Wrap dough in plastic and allow to rest, refrigerated for an hour. Roll into a circle, approximately 12 inches in diameter with a thickness of 1/8th-inch.
3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Oil for deep-fat frying
Confectioners’ sugar, optional
In a large bowl, combine the seven filling ingredients; stir until smooth. Divide the dough into 25 portions. On a floured surface, roll each portion into a 5-in. circle. Spoon 2 tablespoons of filling on half of each circle. Moisten edges with water; fold dough over filling and press edges with a fork to seal. Prick tops with a fork 4-5 times.
In a skillet, heat 1/2 in. of oil to 375°. Fry pies, a few at a time, for 1 minute on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired. Change oil during process as necessary. Store in the refrigerator.
Special thanks to the Lake Charles CVB, the Cormiers, and Senator Mount for their part in this experience. To plan your visit to the area go online at VisitLakeCharles.org.