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Thursday, 6 October 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole

The winner is in! Sweet potato casserole is a favorite side for “cooked dinner” more commonly known as turkey dinner.  Please don’t forget to cook your potatoes and other veggies for Thanksgiving too!  I never grew up on this dish, but have recently added it to my Thanksgiving and Christmas repertoire simply because it is so delicious. The first time I made it, I didn’t add pecans and regretted it.  The pictures I have posted are without pecans – so this year I am definitely adding them! I will add those pics once I have made the dish this weekend!  
Also, remember this is a sweet dish so don’t add too much sugar because it can be ruined if you’re not taking in to account the natural sweetness of the potatoes.  Taste along the way to make sure it’s to your liking. Adapted from “America’s Test Kitchen 2007”. 
Sweet Potato Casserole
7 pounds (6-8 medium sized sweet potatoes, of equal size)
5 TBSP unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces and softened, plus more for the pan
½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
Imagine with crunchy pecans!
This year's photos will be posted after Sunday!
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
1 cup pecans 
5 TBSP unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp salt
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp pepper
1 TBSP vanilla extract
4 tsps fresh lemon juice
4 large egg yolks
1 ½ cups half-and-half cream
1. Sweet Potatoes:
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat the oven to 400 degrees. Poke the sweet potatoes several times with a fork and space evenly across the rack.  Bake the potatoes, turning them once, until they are very tender and be squeezed easily with tongs – 1-1 ½ hours.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and cut in half lengthwise to let the steam escape; cool at least 10 minutes.  Scoop out flesh into bowl – there should be 8 cups.   Reduce the oven temperature to 375. 

** This step can be done 2 days ahead.  Simply scrape the flesh from the skins and refrigerate in an airtight container**

2.  For the Streusel:

While the potatoes are baking, butter a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Mix the flour, brown sugar, and salt in a bowl, until well blended.  Sprinkle the butter pieces over the flour mixture and pulse until a crumbly mass forms. Use a slap-chop like device (or simply cut) the nuts coarsely.  Sprinkle the nuts over the mixture and pulse until combined but some large nut pieces remain. 

3. For the Filling:

Add the melted butter, salt, nutmeg, pepper, vanilla, and lemon juice to the potatoes and mix until smooth.  Taste for sweetness – it’s going to be pretty sweet so I wouldn’t add any sugar. However if you think it needs some add up to 4 TBSP of granulated sugar if necessary (be careful you don’t make it too sweet! Remember the streusel topping is quite sweet enough! ); add yolks.  With the mixer running add the half-and-half cream until blended and transfer to the bowl with the potato pieces and stir gently to combine. 
4.  To Assemble & Bake:
Pour the filling into the prepared baking dish and spread into an even layer with a spatula.  Sprinkle with the streusel, breaking up any large pieces with your fingers.  Bake until the topping is well browened and the filling is slightly puffy around the edges, 40-45 minutes.

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