Since her sweet potato pies first debuted at Walmart in 2015, they’ve been flying off the shelves, thanks in part to YouTube star James Wright Chanel’s viral ode to them. Now, she’s sharing her tried-and-true recipe for PEOPLE’s exclusive series My Food Story.
“Sweet potato pie is in my blood, my mother and father and all of my great aunts, great grandmother and everyone grew up on sweet potato pie,” she says.
Watch the video above to see how LaBelle makes it, then follow her full recipe below to bake it yourself at home.
For more of Patti’s holiday dessert recipes, pick up the Holiday Entertaining issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now.
Patti LaBelle’s Sweet Potato Pie
Patti’s Favorite Pie Dough (recipe below)
All-purpose flour, for dusting
2½ lbs. sweet potatoes, scrubbed
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup evaporated milk
2 large eggs
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, and preheat oven to 375°. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, and roll it out into a 13-inch round. Transfer to a 9-inch pie pan and trim the excess around the edges. Press the dough into the pan, and prick the bottom about a dozen times with a fork. Freeze 20 minutes.
2. Line the inside of the piecrust with aluminum foil and top with pie weights or dried beans. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake in preheated oven for 12 minutes. Remove foil and pie weights and return to the oven for 10 more minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 350°.
3. Meanwhile, pierce the sweet potatoes all over with a fork, and place them in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high until tender, about 10 minutes, turning halfway through. Set aside until cool enough to handle. Slice them in half lengthwise, scoop out the flesh and mash with a fork.
4. Beat mashed sweet potato (about 2 cups total), butter, sugar, evaporated milk, eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes. Spread filling evenly in cooled piecrust.
5. Return pie to oven and bake until filling is set, about 45 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool.
6. Beat cream, powdered sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes. Serve with whipped cream.
Patti’s Favorite Pie Dough
1½ cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp. salt
½ cup butter-flavored vegetable shortening, chilled
½ cup ice water
1. Sift flour and salt together into a medium bowl. Add the shortening, and using a pastry cutter or your hands, press the shortening into the flour until it resembles coarse meal.
2. Gradually add water, stirring with a fork, until the dough starts to clump together (you may not use all of the water). Press the dough into a thick disk, then cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Makes: 1 pie
Active time: 40 minutes
Total time: 2 hours, 15 minutes