Here in the South, sweet potato casserole is a mainstay on the holiday table. While it looks (and tastes!) decadent, this casserole is actually healthy, if you use substitutes for the cane sugar. It doesn’t classify as a totally healthy dish, unless you make your own marshmallows for the topping, but the amount of processed food you get from the few marshmallows you’ll eat is not a big deal. If you’re a purist, however, you can either eliminate the marshmallows and just use the pecan topping, or you can make your own. This casserole is almost good enough to be dessert, but we usually make the sweet potatoes into a pie for that course!
6 to 8 large sweet potatoes, around six to eight pounds
4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (NO Margarine)
Stevia or Honey
1 Teaspoon of Vanilla extract (use the pure extract, not the imitation)
Dash of Orange Extract
1 Teaspoon of fine Sea Salt
Preheat oven to 375° F
Peel and wash the sweet potatoes, cutting into evenly sized cubes. Place the potatoes in a pan large enough to contain them and cover with purified or distilled water. Add the salt and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the potatoes are soft enough to mash. Drain in a colander, and plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking. Using a potato masher or a hand-held electric mixer, mash the potatoes with the butter until smooth. Taste, and add Stevia or Honey to your desired sweetness level, stirring after each addition of sweetener. Add the vanilla and orange extracts and stir. Add the eggs and stir until well combined. Place the sweet potatoes into a buttered 9×13 casserole dish and set aside.
½ cup of King Arthur all-purpose flour
1 ½ cup of brown sugar
1 stick of unsalted butter, cold and cut into cubes
1 cup of pecan halves or pieces
Combine the flour and brown sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Cut the butter into the brown sugar-flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Add the pecans and stir to coat. Sprinkle the topping over the sweet potatoes and bake for 30 minutes.
As an alternative to the pecan streusel topping, you can cover the sweet potatoes with a single layer of marshmallows and bake as directed. If you don’t want to use commercial marshmallows, you can make your own the day before.
3 packages unflavored gelatin
1 cup very cold water, divided
1 ½ cups of sugar, or you can use the appropriate amount of Stevia
1 cup light corn syrup
¼ Teaspoon fine Sea Sal
1 Teaspoon Vanilla extract (use the pure, not the imitation)
¼ Cup of Confectioner’s sugar
¼ Cup of cornstarch
Place the gelatin in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Add ½ cup of very cold water and allow to stand while you make the syrup.
In a small saucepan, combine the remaining ½ cup of water, the sugar or stevia, corn syrup and salt. Cover the pan and cook over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the sugar dissolves. Use a wet pastry brush to wash down the sides of the pan to remove any crystals that have formed. Uncover the pan, clip a candy thermometer to the side and cook until the temperature reaches 240° F, around 7 t 8 minutes. When the temperature hits 240° F, immediately remove from the heat.
Turn the mixer onto low. While running, slowly pour the sugar syrup mixture down the side of the bowl into the gelatin mixture. When all of the syrup has been added, turn the mixer onto high and whip until the mixture is thick and lukewarm, around 15 minutes. Add the vanilla the last minute of mixing.
While the mixture is whipping, prepare the pan.
Combine the cornstarch and confectioner’s sugar in a small bowl and mix well. Spray a 9×13 metal pan with the nonstick spray. Dust the bottom and sides of the pan with the sugar-cornstarch mixture, putting the excess back into the small bowl. Turn the mixture out into the prepared pan and spread with a lightly-oiled (coconut oil, please) spatula. Dust the top with the sugar-cornstarch mixture, to cover. Let it sit out a minimum of 4 hours, preferably overnight. When the mixture is dry, turn out onto a cutting board and cut into squares using a pizza cutter dusted with the sugar-cornstarch mixture. When the marshmallows are cut, put the sugar-cornstarch mixture into a plastic bag and add the marshmallows in batches. Shake the bag to coat the marshmallows, and then shake off the excess. Repeat until all the marshmallows are coated with the sugar-cornstarch mixture. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.
This sweet potato casserole is a favorite in our household – we hope you enjoy it as much as we do!