(The Robyn & Nance tandem recipe post will be up in a few days. Christmas is less than two weeks away. We’ve been busy!)
I had never had sweet potato casserole before I moved to Alabama. My first Thanksgiving in the South we had it with dinner, and I was HOOKED. This stuff is awesome – it’s sweet, but it’s got sweet potatoes in it, so what that means is that it’s practically health food.
(Just go with it.)
I’ve had it at Thanksgiving – and very often at Christmas – every year since. I don’t think Thanksgiving would be complete without a big spoonful of sweet potato casserole next to the turkey.
Before you can start putting the casserole together, you have to have cooked sweet potatoes (which you’ll then mash and measure). You can roast them in the oven and I’ve done it that way – pierce your sweet potatoes, bake them in a 375ºF oven, start checking them for doneness at 40 minutes. When a fork easily pierces the flesh of the sweet potatoes, they’re done. We get some pretty big sweet potatoes down here, so I’ve had some of the bigger ones take an hour and a half. Which is why I usually just microwave them. Stick them in the microwave and cook them for five minutes (if you don’t have a turntable in your microwave, flip them over at 2 1/2 minutes).
Test for doneness, and if they’re not easily pierced by a fork, continue cooking them for 3 minutes at a time.
When they’re done cooking, let them cool a bit, scoop the flesh out, and mash it with a fork. You’ll need three cups of mashed sweet potatoes for this recipe.
Mashed sweet potatoes, vanilla, margarine or butter (I use butter), sugar, beaten eggs, and milk.
Throw everything in the mixer and mix. (You could also stir it together by hand if you’re so inclined.)
Spread it in a lightly greased 9×13 pan or two 8×8 pans.
Now time to make the topping!
But first, a kitten interlude.
The topping ingredients:
Brown sugar, flour, butter, chopped pecans.
Put the butter, sugar, and flour in a bowl, and cut together with a pastry cutter (or two knives, if you don’t have a pastry cutter).
When the mixture is crumbly, stir in the pecans. I’d say that the pieces of butter should be about the size of peas.
Sprinkle the topping as evenly as possible over the sweet potato mixture.
The butter/ flour/ sugar mixture melts together to make the best butter/ sugary/ floury/ pecan-y crust you’ve ever had in your life.
(I should add that I’ve made this using walnuts as well, and it worked out well. I usually use pecans since we’ve always got some on hand.)
This stuff is so amazingly good that you’ll want to hide it in the back of the fridge and claim you forgot to make it, just so you can have the whole thing to yourself.
(Not that I’ve ever done that.)
Yes, it’s got a lot of sugar and butter in it. But come on – the holidays only come once a year. If you can’t eat sugar and butter on Thanksgiving and/ or Christmas Day, when the hell CAN you?
- 3 c. sweet potatoes, baked and mashed
- ½ t. vanilla
- ½ c. margarine or butter, melted
- 1 c. sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- ½ c. milk
- 1 c. brown sugar
- ½ c. flour
- ½ c. butter
- 1 c. chopped pecans (or walnuts, if you prefer)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat together first 6 ingredients. Pour into a lightly greased 9 x 13 or two 8 x 8 (or 9 x 9) baking pans.
- Use a pastry blender to cut butter into brown sugar and flour until crumbly. Mix in nuts. Sprinkle topping mixture over sweet potatoes.
- (At this point, dish can be refrigerated, covered. I always make it a day ahead.)
- Bake uncovered for 45 - 50 minutes, until browned and bubbly.