True story: I spent the better half of a Saturday two weeks ago searching for sweet potato casserole ingredients. Come to find out, no place in the great state of Virginia seems to sell sorghum syrup, go figure. But while I was fretting over strange syrups I could have spared myself the trouble and just followed Jennifer Garner’s granny’s recipe for sweet potato pudding that’s a heck of a lot easier, uses a heart-racing 2 ½ cups of sugar to make — perfect for the holidays — and is now the inspiration for the new Farmer Jen's Sweet Potato Pie baby food from Once Upon a Farm, the company Garner co-founded.
You’ll be happy to know that her kiddo version isn’t packed with that much sugar or marshmallow topping (although we’ll gladly tuck into it at the big kid’s table). Instead, it pays homage to the Juno star’s favorite holiday treat by mimicking its flavors in baby-friendly ingredients such as vanilla, sweet dates, and coconut milk.
The film star shared the recipe last year with the Food Network and on her Instagram. This week, she posted about it out again in another video making the recipe in tandem with her own mom. A love for sweet potatoes and sugar is the kind of intergenerational bond that sticks.
With her thick Southern accent and all business approach, Jennifer’s mom Patricia prepares Grandma Exie’s famous recipe in a split screen complete with color commentary along the way. “I think she got the recipe out of a flyer sent out by the utility company,” Patricia explains. “Honestly, it was about all Jennifer would eat at that time.” How’s that for Mama Real Talk?
When Garner admits she doesn’t include milk or eggs in her version, her mama calls her out. “Well then you’re not making Grandma Exie’s sweet potato pudding!” she says. Ha. God bless her.
To give Jennifer’s approach a try, we have the full recipe (complete with Garner's emojis). And if you’re looking for some baby food that tastes as good as this, well here’s where to find it.
Grandma Exie’s Sweet Potato Pudding (JG version)
4-5 sweet potatoes
1/2 stick butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp cloves
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsp salt
1. Peel sweet potatoes, cover with water. Boil, then simmer until tender. Drain.
2. Preheat oven to 350º
3. Mix sweet potatoes with spices, (I use the recipe to start and then add more 😬).
4. Pour into a buttered baking dish.
5. If you added Mom’s eggs and milk, you’ll bake for an hour. If not, just heat through. 🙋🏻♀️
6. Add marshmallows and watch closely until browned. Yum.
7. OR, open a pouch of @onceuponafarm’s organic, no sugar added sweet potatoes/date/spices/coconut milk/vanilla - equally as YUM.
For Patricia's version, don't skip the 3 cups milk and 2 eggs.