The past two days I spent in the kitchen. After weeks of menu planning and list writing, I put on my apron, turned up the music, and got to work. Among other things, I kneaded dough for Parker House rolls and cinnamon buns, rolled out pastry dough for pie, baked cornbread in my heavy cast iron skillet for the dressing, and simmered turkey wings for hours to yield stock for gravy. The hours slid by, the dishwasher got run (4 times yesterday), and I had plenty of time to think about Thanksgiving and the traditions that come along with it.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am trying some new things this year. Instead of a pecan pie, I opted for a pecan tart drizzled with chocolate and I’m curious to give dry brining a whirl with this unique recipe. Yet despite the excitement of cooking something new, the recipe that brought me the most joy to prepare was this sweet potato casserole.
This sweet potato casserole is simple to make, can be made in advance, and the end product is delicious which are all excellent reasons to make this casserole a tradition on your Thanksgiving table. I, however, have it on my table, because my mother had it on hers.
The recipe actually comes from my Aunt Lisa, but for as long as I can remember my mother has made it for Thanksgiving and then again on Christmas day. Sweet and buttery with a sugary-pecan topping, it’s practically dessert and every bite brings back the most delicious memories of holidays from years past.
Yesterday, as I followed the recipe written in my mother’s hand, I found myself feeling grateful for having a mother that took the time to cook, to celebrate tradition, and to make sure we all gathered round the table. So let me be the first to raise a glass to the cooks this Thanksgiving. Be sure to give them a hug AND help out with the dishes. Happy Thanksgiving!
Sweet Potato Casserole – Printer Friendly Recipe
I don’t have a finished picture of this sweet potato casserole as it is partially baked and in my fridge for Thanksgiving. That’s one of the great things about this dish; it can be prepped and partially baked two to three days in advance and then baked off right before serving. Typically I would roast my own sweet potatoes instead of using canned, but my mom swears by Bruce’s canned sweet potatoes (yams) in a light syrup and I have to admit I was game for the shortcut.
For the filling:
3 cups roasted sweet potatoes, skin removed OR 1 (2 ½ lb) can Bruce’s sweet potatoes (yams) in a light syrup (drained)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, light beaten
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
½ cup whole milk
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping:
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup packed light brown sugar
½ cup all purpose flour
½ cup whole milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Smash the sweet potatoes with a fork or potato masher. Whisk in the sugar, eggs, butter, milk, salt, and vanilla. Pour into a 9 x 13-inch greased pan.
Bake for 20 minutes. While the filling is baking, combine the melted butter, pecans, brown sugar, flour, and milk in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.
Spread the topping over the baked filling and cook for another 35 minutes. If preparing in advance, spread the topping over the filling, but do not bake. Allow to cool and then cover and refrigerate until ready to bake. Please note that refrigerated casserole may require a little extra baking time. Enjoy!