For many of us, the holidays mean the return of special foods, those favorite family dishes that hold special meaning. They’re the once-a-year treats that help tie families together and offer reminders of those who came before. Without these dishes on the holiday table, the season just wouldn’t be the same.

We asked our readers to share some of their favorite holiday treats. They replied with recipes that would bring grace to any holiday table. We thought you might want the main course — whether it’s turkey, ham, lamb, beef or goose — to represent your family’s tradition, so here’s another dish you can use to expand your holiday table and to incorporate some of the traditions of your neighbors.

Caribbean Sweet Potato Pie

Submitted by Allen Clark, food service director at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School

Allen Clark, food service director at Mount Vernon Presbyterian School.

I have been cooking since my parents bought a drive-in restaurant in Texas when I was 12 years old. It fed my passion for what I do and after a stint in the U.S. Navy, I went back to what I love. I was introduced to some great chefs in New York City and learned to cook. I have been an executive chef, restaurant owner and caterer. For 12 years, I cooked in the Braves Clubhouse for their players and coaches. I was working at Auburn University feeding their football team when I was offered the opportunity to interview Mount Vernon Presbyterian School.

I took my honeymoon in Barbados and have many fond memories. The pie that I have shared is a tribute to the warmth of the Caribbean. It is sweet and spicy and perfect for a winter day with a bit of fresh whipped cream.

2 sweet potatoes roasted until very soft, peeled and mashed (about 2 cups)

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup evaporated milk

1/2 cup Coco Lopez

1/4 cup molasses

4 eggs beaten

1 teaspoon ginger powder

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients together and press through a strainer to remove any strings from the sweet potato. Pour into a 10-inch pie shell — either a classic crust or graham cracker crust — and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for 40 to 45 minutes. The center of the pie will still be slightly soft. Cool the pie at room temperature. Serve with fresh whipped cream.

Adventurous cooks can add 2 tablespoons of spiced rum to the pie mix.

Joe Earle

Joe Earle is Editor-at-Large. He has more than 30-years of experience with daily newspapers, including the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and was Managing Editor of Reporter Newspapers.