Recipe: Aunt Pearl’s Sweet Potato Biscuits

Seeing as how my hope for this blog is to share with you the practical ways I experience and live out my faith in God, and seeing as how part of that experience is the sharing of food as God’s gift to us, and seeing as how I genuinely enjoy cooking and eating food, it is one of my goals to share a recipe with you each month.

But keep in mind this is not a cooking blog per se. While cooking is a part of it, I am not going to feature beautifully shot photos of beautifully plated meals or long, eloquent tales of how these recipes came to be. No, I don’t have the patience nor the interest for such a thing. Besides, that’s not how I learned most recipes anyway, and besides all that it is rare for me to actually follow a recipe to a T anyway.

So you will get recipes from me in much the same manner I got recipes from Ma Davis, my father’s mother and the crafter of many of my childhood favorites. The first time I ever made biscuits, I wanted to make biscuits like Ma made, with the country ham chopped up and mixed into the dough. So I called Ma and asked her how to do it. She said, “You want about this much flour, about that much salt, about this much water…”

“Ma,” I said, “We’re on the phone. I can’t see how much this much or that much is.”

“Sorry,” she said, “I don’t know any other way.”

So here is Aunt Pearl’s Sweet Potato Biscuits, along with a few explanatory notes for those that don’t understand normal speak.

Aunt Pearl’s Sweet Potato Biscuits

3 heaping cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed

4 scant cups self-rising flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 cup lard

Work together the day before you cook. Bake at 400* for about 20 minutes, until done.


That’s it, the entire recipe as it was given to me.

Anticipated Questions

How do you prepare the sweet potatoes? I pick about 3-4 good sized potatoes, roast them in the oven until they are very squishy and oozing from the skins. Take them out, let them cool, remove the skins and mash them with a potato masher. If you don’t have a potato masher, bless your heart.

Heaping cups? That means it rises above the 1 cup line in a dome-like manner.

Scant cups? Scoop your flour, then run your finger over top so that it dips down into the cup, making the cup of flour slightly concave.

Work it together? That means mix it up. You’ll probably have to use your hands.

What size and shape do you make the biscuits? Whatever you want. I typically make them about the size of my palm and about the thickness of a finger. Ma always liked hers thinner. My wife suggested rolling out the dough and cutting it; you can try, but be forewarned it is a sticky dough.

Who is Aunt Pearl? My great great Aunt, on my father’s father’s side. I made the mistake once of telling Ma I was making her sweet potato biscuits and she corrected me that these are Aunt Pearl’s, never mind the fact that Aunt Pearl has been dead for umpteen years.

Is there a substitute for lard? Probably, but you won’t learn it from me.

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