This Thanksgiving, add a grown up twist to your sweet potato casserole. So good, it'll become a tradition.
When I was a kid, I couldn’t get enough of the candied yams at Thanksgiving. You know, the ones in heavy, sugary syrup and topped with marshmallows. Basically straight sugar. Of course I liked them!
Now that I’m a bit older, I still like my sweet potatoes candied, but I prefer a little less sugar and a more refined dish. Don’t get me wrong; you could still eat these for dessert if you wanted to. But for some reason I feel a little less bad about it.
I adapted this recipe from a friend of my mom’s. The original one called for rum and a ton of sugar. I have played with this recipe and perfected it over the years, and now my family consistently asks for it at Thanksgiving. My final version uses Grand Marnier™ and maple syrup. A match made in heaven!
The Grand Marnier™ is the secret ingredient here. It gives it a slightly citrus, deep flavor that I just love. (I use it in my cranberries at Thanksgiving as well.) Don’t worry; the actual alcohol cooks out of it, leaving behind only deliciousness.
I definitely recommend using fresh sweet potatoes (garnet yams), and cooking them with your method of choice. I like to roast them in the oven for about an hour until easily pierced with a fork, but you could also boil them. This can even be done a day or two ahead of time.
Once they've cooled, peel and mash them. Combine with the rest of the ingredients (minus the topping) in a bowl and stir until everything is well incorporated. Spoon into a greased casserole dish. (Another do-ahead step: you can keep it in fridge overnight and remove about 30 minutes before baking and sprinkle with topping).
Combine topping ingredients in a bowl. This is the best part. Pecans, sugar and butter. (Mmmmm…. butter.)
Sprinkle on top of the sweet potato mixture and bake at 350ºF for about 30 minutes. (While the turkey is resting!)
Eat it with your turkey, or for dessert, or BOTH! Happy Thanksgiving!
Jaymee Sire is an Emmy award-winning sports anchor by day and food blogger by night. (Or sometimes vice-versa depending on the sports schedule.) You can check out more of Jaymee’s delicious creations on her alphabet-themed food blog, e is for eat.