Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sweet Potato Casserole

I made a gigantic sweet potato casserole for our Seder Feast last weekend and received lots of compliments. Mostly 'cause...DUDE, you can't go wrong with sweet potatoes. 

But sweet potatoes with a sweet, crunchy topping??!! Well, what's not to love??

I haven't the first picture, though. Because I made this last weekend when I kept forgetting my camera, so.....sorry. (Maybe I'll add one later.)

But I wanted to get this posted for those of you who might be interested in something yummy and festive for your Easter holiday celebrations.

Okay. Here goes.

Start with approximately 8-15 medium to large sweet potatoes. I know that's vague, but I don't really know how else to tell you. You want somewhere around 8 cups of cooked sweet potato, skins removed. I used about 15 medium-sized potatoes. But once cooked, I certainly didn't measure out 8 cups of potato. (I was in too much of a hurry.) So there's really no telling how much was in there. Could have been as much as ten cups! I guess that's what your "taster's" for. 

Wash the potatoes and then bake them at 300 degrees for 3 to 4 hours. (P.S. I don't poke holes in them.) The longer and lower you bake them, the better, in general. Many sweet potato casserole recipes will tell you to boil the potatoes, but A) that's a good way to lose a lot of nutrients; and B) baking helps to concentrate the natural sugars in the potato. And when you eat a sweet potato, don't you want it...umm...sweet?! 

If you've got time to kill, let the potatoes cool before handling them. (Your fingers will thank me later.) Slice 'em open and scrape the skins with a spoon until you've got as much potato pulp out as possible. 

I put the pulp into my KitchenAid mixer with the whisk attachment and then whisk on medium speed. (You could do the same with a hand-held mixer.) After a few minutes, detach the whisk and rinse it off in the sink. You'll see that all those pesky potato strings that sweet potatoes are often notorious for will be wrapped around the whisk. Get all that gunk off under running water and do the whole thing again several times, stopping every minute to minute-and-a-half to rinse the whisk. (You'll probably think you're losing a lot of potato, but really it's mostly just stringy stuff that you won't want in your casserole.) 

At this point, you might want to switch to a regular paddle attachment, so you won't incorporate any more air into your dish than you already have.  :)  Or, if using a hand-held, just go ahead and switch to a big ol' spoon. 

Now add 3/4 cup sugar. I used organic cane sugar. You could use Sucanat. But your potatoes will be extra brown-looking. I sort of figured 3/4 cup is not that much considering how big this casserole is. Besides, this is soooooo a special occasion dish. So, sugar it up, people!! Add more if it's not sweet enough for you. (I didn't. I was exercising great self-control.) 

Mix in the sugar, 4 beaten eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 softened stick of butter (1/2 pound), 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and 4 heaping teaspoons cinnamon. (If you like nutmeg and cloves, they'd be good in this, too. But I left mine simple and straightforward.) NOW. Fold in a couple handfuls of raisins. Oh, maybe about a cup. Cup and a half. Something like that. Trust me. The little bursts of sweetness in every bite or so will make you very happy. (Unless you're my sister-in-law who doesn't like raisins. She'd probably say "hates," but that's such a strong word, don't you think?) 

Make sure the mixture is smooth-ish and then pour it into a huge casserole dish.

Next, in a medium bowl, mix 1 cup packed brown sugar (or Muscavado, which is what I used) and 2/3 cup all-purpose flour. Cut in 6 tablespoons softened butter until the mixture is coarse. Then stir in 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (my choice because I had a huge bag of them in my freezer). 

Sprinkle the nut mixture over the sweet potato mixture, spreading evenly. 

Things to keep in mind:

  1. This size recipe really needs a gigantic casserole dish. I don't have a gigantic one, at least not in length and width. I have a really deep one, which held this recipe nicely. But it didn't give as much surface area for the topping to be thin enough on top, so it took longer to bake. Here's something to go by, HALF of this recipe fits in a 9x13" casserole. So. If you're gonna make the big one, you're gonna need a bigger dish, Sweetie Pie.  ;)
  2. The topping WILL want to stick to the edges, especially if you have to cook it quite a while (as I did). Lightly buttering the sides of the dish will solve that problem.
  3. Lots of recipes call for milk as well. I ONLY use milk when my potatoes are ultra thick. I have found, however, that with this amount of butter AND all the air I whip into them, the potatoes are quite soupy when it's time to pour into the casserole. (They will thicken up a bit during baking.) I don't think milk is necessary, and I would much rather have a thicker casserole than a runny one.
  4. I would cut this recipe in half if I were making it for just my family. (Even with company coming.) Just FYI.

Now bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for at least 30 minutes, or until the topping is lightly browned.

Sweet Potato Casserole

8 cups sweet potato 
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 heaping teaspoons cinnamon
1-1 1/2 cups raisins

   1 cup packed brown sugar
   2/3 cup all-purpose flour
   6 tablespoons butter, softened
   1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Bake at 325 degrees for 30+ minutes.

Serves 24
(Yes, it does! Twenty stinkin' four.)

This is part of Works for Me Wednesday.


  1. Raisins are yucky, but sweet potato casserole is yummy!!! :)

  2. I made this today for a neighbor's memorial service (for the family) and it took over an hour to cook. Oops! I suppose 30 minutes would be fine in two 9x13 pans. Was 30 minutes enough when you made it in your deep casserole dish?


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