Sweet Potato Pie in Orange Shells

Charleston Recollections and Receipts: Rose P. Ravenel’s Cookbook is a beguiling collection of recipes and memoirs compiled by a Charleston lady during her long life, which spanned 100 years from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. Her potato pie in orange shells is a favorite for the fall holidays. I have reduced the amount of eggs and replaced the sugar with molasses. “Pies” in the Lowcountry are often crustless; the word is used as a general term, in the same way that the British use the term pudding to mean dessert.


  • 6 to 10 oranges, depending on size
  • 1 pound sweet potatoes, boiled, peeled, and mashed
  • ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons ( cup) molasses


Preheat the oven to 350°. Cut the top fourth off each orange, then hollow it with a grapefruit spoon or a melon bailer. Blend the remaining ingredients together well, then fill each orange shell with the mixture. Bake for 20 minutes or until juice begins to run from the oranges.