WAY BACK IN 2007 Some holidays, you just don't mess with tradition. But still, call me surprised to feature a recipe for a traditional Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top. My taste testers loved this! Good sweet potato flavor really comes through, the texture is soft and pillowy, the sweetness is there but not over the top. But the best part is the topping mixture, a few mini marshmallows interspersed with crispy bread crumbs spiced with ginger and toasted pecans. If marshmallows are traditional at Thanksgiving, so be it, I'm not messing with tradition!
UPDATE Whoa! I'd forgotten how good sweet potato casserole can be! This recipe isn't as sweet as many other recipes. Even so, I wouldn't hesitate to serve it for dessert though I'd put on my marketing hat and call it "sweet potato pudding". The topping is delicious and the mixture of a few marshmallows and pecan-panko crumbs just looks so pretty, which many sweet potato casseroles don't. This is a winner!
THAT SAID Sweet potatoes don't demand marshmallows! For a sweet potato casserole that's entirely savory, check out the, um, yeah, Savory Sweet Potato Casserole. So good!
"This was the BEST sweet potato casserole I've ever made and eaten! It was a huge hit for Thanksgiving - people ate seconds of this instead of dessert!" ~ Laura
SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE
Hands-on time: 40 minutes
Time to table: 90 - 120 minutes
Serves 16 in smallish portions for a large meal with many other choices
Water to cover
2-1/4 pounds (1000g) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces roughly the same size
3/4 cup (150g) brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla (don't skip this!)
2 large eggs
1 cup half & half (or 1/2 cup whole milk + 1/2 cup heavy cream)
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup panko (what is panko?) or crisp bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
A handful of mini marshmallows (then throw away the rest so you're not tempted to eat the little pillows!)
SWEET POTATOES Place water and potatoes in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and cook until potatoes are soft and fully cooked. Drain in a colander.
Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, brown sugar, salt and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. (Be sure to work out the little nuggets of brown sugar, they'll burn.) Add the eggs and beat til smooth. Add the half & half and beat til smooth. (2007: The mixture may be quite runny. Update: It wasn't runny at all. ) Transfer to a well-greased two-quart baking dish.
TOPPING Mix the topping ingredients.
BAKE Sprinkle the marshmallows over the top of the casserole, leaving room for the topping to be sprinkled in between. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes or until golden brown. Dig in!
TO PREP AHEAD
THE DAY BEFORE Cook the sweet potatoes and mix the casserole and the topping but keep separate.
DAY OF Return to room temperature. Top with marshmallows and topping and bake until steamy hot in the center, 45 - 60 minutes.
LEFTOVER REPORT This warms up beautifully and may in fact taste better on Day Two and Three.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
EXTRA LARGE SWEET POTATOES My grocery only had super-sized sweet potatoes the first time I made this. When peeling and cubing, I could tell they were woody, and while I don't know for sure, I do attribute this to size and would recommend sweet potatoes no bigger than 3/4 pound.
STEAMING vs BOILING The inspiring recipe called for boiling the potatoes. The first time I made this casserole, I thought boiling the potatoes would add too much liquid to the casserole so I steamed them; afterward I wondered if steaming them didn't add enough liquid.The next time I made the casserole, I boiled the sweet potatoes and recommend this as the right treatment.
SWEETNESS & RICHNESS I think that this recipe is good enough to play with, reducing the sweetness and richness and letting the sweet potatoes really come through. Next time, I will drop back to just 1/4 cup of brown sugar and use whole milk rather than half & half. I'd also drop the vanilla back to just a teaspoon.
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MORE THANKSGIVING SWEET POTATO RECIPES~ Fresh Candied Yams ~
~ Simple 'Sweet Potato' Potato Salad with Hardly Any Mayonnaise ~
~ Maple Ginger Sweet Potatoes ~
~ Sweet Potato & Butternut Squash Tagine ~
~ Mashed Butternut Squash & Sweet Potatoes ~
~ more sweet potato recipes ~
~ My Favorite Sweet Potato Recipes ~
~ Favorite Recipes for Thanksgiving's Favorite Vegetables ~
from A Veggie Venture
~ Rustic Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Carrots ~
~ Sweet Potato Salad with Roasted Poblano, Roasted Corn & Chipotle ~
~ Mashed Sweet Potatoes ~
~ more sweet potato recipes ~
from Kitchen Parade, my food column
SEASONAL EATING: THIS SAME WEEK ACROSS THE YEARSCreamed Turnips Curried Rice “Vegged Up” Chayote Squash East African Pea Soup Gratin of Greens Mashed Potatoes with Vegetarian Apple Cider Ginger Sage Gravy Smothered Cabbage Autumn Sunchoke Salad Fresh Candied Yams Twice-Baked Potatoes Leek & Vegetable Gratin Sweet Potato Casserole Cauliflower Cream Creamy Brussels Sprouts Gratin Cauliflower Mac n Cheese Thanksgiving Succotash Mashed Butternut Squash & Sweet Potatoes Savory Bread Pudding with Butternut Squash, Chard & Cheddar (< this week's favorite!) Savory Sweet Potato Casserole Slow Cooker Sweet Potatoes with Cranberry & Orange Simple 'Sweet Potato' Potato Salad with Hardly Any Mayonnaise Three Secrets for Rich & Creamy Mashed Potatoes Thanksgiving Turkey Vegetable Platter
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