I have literally been searching for Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie for a year ever since it blew up on the internet in a viral video. From news reports, Walmart couldn’t keep the pie in stock last year and it kept selling out everywhere. I wanted to know what the hype was all about and I finally got my hands on one over the weekend. There were actually plenty of pies available at the store but the hype’s had a whole year to die down, so it makes sense that there isn’t as much frenzy surrounding the pie this time around.
I’m sure most people know Patti LaBelle as the singer of the original Lady Marmalade song before Christina Aguilera, Pink, Lil Kim and Mya redid it but to me she’ll always be Dwayne Wayne’s mom. I used to be a huge fan of the sitcom A Different World (up until Whitley ran off with Dwayne at her wedding. The show went downhill after that) which was a spin-off of The Cosby Show which I also loved (pre-Olivia and Cousin Pam). I’m not embarrassed to admit that that was part of the reason I wanted to try her pie so much.
After tasting it for myself I have to say Patti LaBelle’s pie is definitely better than your average pre-made store bought pie. The sweet potato pie filling is more flavorful and the texture is lighter and fluffier rather than starchy and dense. The instructions on the box say to heat the pie in a 300 oven for 10-20 minutes before consuming and that actually makes the filling soufflé a bit and become even fluffier.
I can detect plenty of ginger and nutmeg and I swear there’s some orange zest or citrus in there that lifts the flavor and gives the pie some brightness. The crust is also surprisingly good. My main gripe with most store bought pies is their bland, crumbly, sawdust crusts which, in my opinion, are lacking in flavor and texture. Incidentally, they’re usually made entirely with vegetable oil. Patti’s crust is still a bit on the crumbly side but it has hints of flakiness and tastes a lot better because she uses real butter in the crust.
All in all, Patti LaBelle’s pie is perhaps the best pre-made sweet potato pie you can get at the supermarket but do I think it’s worthy of the insane hype that it got last year? No, not really but for $3.49, it’s pretty good. If you love sweet desserts, you’ll probably dig this pie. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth and this is borderline too sweet for me. However, nothing beats homemade pie and my go-to recipe is still the one from Cook’s Illustrated which I highly recommend.