The Best Sweet Potatoes Ever!
Please allow me the following confession…
I am a Sweet Potato Purist. My favorite way (prior to learning THIS recipe) to enjoy sweet potatoes is very simply – baked in the oven and with a bit of butter. That’s it.
So, when my Lovely Sister offered to make Sweet Potato Casserole for Thanksgiving several years ago, I was less than enthused. Visions of mini-marshmallows and all that…
Imagine my surprise, my joy, my thrill to taste a truly AMAZING Sweet Potato Casserole! And not a mini-marshmallow in sight!
Here’s what you need:
Sweet Potatoes, Flour, Milk, Butter, Eggs, Brown Sugar, Salt, Vanilla, and Pecans.
This recipe makes about 4 large servings…unless I am at the table…so I usually double it for Thanksgiving.
You want about 3 cups of cooked sweet potatoes – 3 medium sweet potatoes or a little over 2 pounds should give you the right amount.
Begin by baking the sweet potatoes in a 400 degree oven for 45-60 minutes until very soft.
I usually just plop the sweet potatoes on a sheet of aluminum foil directly on the oven rack. That way if they ooze, it won’t go all over the oven. To test for doneness, just give them a gentle squeeze with an oven mitt.
Allow them to cool just a bit so you don’t burn your fingertips off. Then remove the skins and mash up the sweet potatoes with a fork or potato masher.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees to bake the casserole.
To the sweet potatoes, add 1/3 cup brown sugar and 2 Tablespoons of melted butter. (I melt my butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds.)
Add 1/3 cup milk and 1 teaspoon of vanilla – use real, pure vanilla please.
Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and give everything a gentle stir.
Next, separate 2 eggs by either tipping the egg yolk back and forth in the shell or by allowing the egg white to filter through your impeccably clean fingers. That’s the method I like to use.
For this recipe we only need the egg WHITES. Save the yolks to add to some scrambled eggs if you’d like.
Give the whites a quick whisk to make them light and foamy.
No need to beat them to death. Just get a little air in there so that they turn a lighter color and have foamy bubbles. Stir the egg whites into the sweet potato mixture.
Grab your favorite casserole dish (an 8 or 9 inch dish should do the trick) and coat it with cooking spray.
Pour in the sweet potatoes and level them out with a spatula.
Now for the good part — the tasty topping!
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup flour.
Cut 2 Tablespoons of COLD butter into small chunks.
With your fingers, work these chunks of butter into the sugar and flour mixture pressing and incorporating the butter into the dry ingredients. After only a couple of minutes, the butter will break down into smaller pieces and take on a crumbly quality.
Chop up 1/2 cup of pecans and add them to the topping.
Spread the topping over the sweet potatoes. It might seem like too much topping at first but put it all on there. There is no such thing as too much buttery topping.
This is also a great DO AHEAD recipe! At this point, you can cover the casserole and keep it in the refrigerator until you are ready to bake. I often make this a day ahead just to make life easier on Thanksgiving day.
My lovely sister also tells me that you can even freeze the casserole at this stage, thaw it and cook it later. She also recommends making it in smaller individual cups and freezing them for a quick side dish. She’s so smart.
Bake this lovely, buttery, sweet potatoey goodness at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. The top should become golden but not dark brown.
Soooooo good. Seriously. Don’t wait until Thanksgiving to have these sweet potatoes. I served them last night with a lovely grilled pork tenderloin and some steamed broccoli.
And I may or may not have had the left-overs for breakfast today.
Remember to double the recipe if you’re having more than 4 or 5 people for dinner.
Here’s the recipe!