I am not the biggest fan of sweet potatoes. I can eat them as fries if I’ve got enough ranch, but please don’t send those marshmallow topped ones my way, because pass. For years and years I have passed on my mother’s Sweet Potato Casserole as it came my way on the assembly line of holiday foods. I didn’t think I liked them, they didn’t appeal to me. But then one year, it all changed. I just tried them. I let go of the stubbornness of 20+ years and said “Fine! OK! Here, I’ll try them!” Folks, that day, I became a lover of Sweet Potato Casserole. Something just snapped, clicked, made sense. And you know what? They were the best thing I’d ever tasted. They are sinfully delicious, and could be placed on the dessert table without fuss. They taste like a cross between sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie, but without the crust. I was hitting myself over and over for waiting so long to try them. Don’t be like me, try these now.
I didn’t really know how amazing these potatoes were until one year I brought a pan of them over for Thanksgiving. For me, they were the best I’d ever tried, but let’s be honest here, I hadn’t really tried many. I prepared them at home, brought them over to the In-Laws and told them what to do with them in the oven. When it came time to eat, my very very picky and set in her ways (that’s the nice way of putting it) Grandmother in Law put a huge heaping scoop on her plate, dug in and then asked, “Who made these?!”. It was the kind of paralyzing fear when you want to say “Me! I did! Over here!” but you don’t for fear that what you are going to hear isn’t what you expected. I sort of meekly replied. “Oh, I did… it’s my grandmother’s recipe.”
I waited for her reply.
Then she said, “If you don’t bring a pan of these for Christmas, you’re not invited anymore.” A sigh of relief. And of course I brought them to Christmas, and I’ve brought them to Thanksgiving and Christmas every year since. It’s the moment I think I really bonded with my husbands grouchy grandma. Over Sweet Potato Casserole. Go figure.
I always hear about recipes called “Engagement Chicken” and certain cakes or pies to bake to get your boyfriend to propose or move the relationship forward, for fear of never getting to eat it again. For me and my husband that was my Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake, or maybe it was my Chicken Fried Steak recipe. But if you need to win over some family members, bring this to your next holiday meal. Trust me.
Sweet Potato Casserole
- 5 lbs red sweet potatoes (or yams), peeled, and cubed – my mom uses the canned ones, I prefer fresh. – Either way.
- 2 eggs, whisked together until scrambled
- 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
- 4 tbsp Butter
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- Dash of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger – or your favorite “Holiday Spices”
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- Dash of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and ginger
Start by boiled the peeled and cubed sweet potatoes until fork tender, drain and set aside. Grease a 9×13 inch casserole pan. Transfer the sweet potatoes back into their pot, and mash with the butter, cream and sugars until well incorporated. Add spices and salt and mix well. Let cool while you make your topping.
In a small bowl, mix together the butter and flour, until crumbly like course meal. Add the salt and spices and sugar and mix again. Add the pecans and mix once more. Your mixtures should be similar to a crumb topping on a pie.
Once cooled, add the 2 whisked eggs, and fold everything together. The eggs will act as a binding ingredient and help keep everything together when you serve it. Transfer the sweet potatoes to the casserole dish and sprinkle on the topping. This dish can be made ahead up to 2 days in advance to help with timing on hectic holidays. To cook, simply put into the oven, covered with foil at 350* for 25 minutes., Remove foil the last 5 minutes to crisp the topping.
What are your favorite holiday side dishes?