This is not exactly a groundbreaking recipe. I guess you could call it an oldie but goodie. I looked around at other recipes for the classic Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole similar to the one my grandmother used to make. I loved her version; but I always found myself favoring the crunchy pecan topping over the sweet potato filling. Her version was super-rich; without marshmallows but sweet enough to sit on the dessert table, not the dinner buffet. The recipes I found were very similar, mashed sweet potatoes mixed with eggs, butter, vanilla and lots of sugar. Most of the recipes I found called for a cup of sugar for just three cups of sweet potatoes. REALLY??? That’s dessert – a sweet one. Most sweet potato pie recipes don’t even call for that much sugar.
What’s the reason for the overload? I think there might be a tendency to throw nutrition out the window for Thanksgiving and go with the more-is-more philosophy. I am all for splurging at holidays when the splurge makes the end product worth the splurge. But sweet potatoes are really sweet to start with; I just don’t understand all the sugar in a side dish destined for the dinner plate.
So, I decided to try the same recipe but with no sugar (or butter) added to the mashed sweet potatoes. I wanted to keep the topping sweet and crunchy and full of pecans, and threw in whole wheat pastry flour to help keep the topping ultra-crunchy. The result? My husband, who has never liked the classic version, loved it. The topping provides more than enough added sugar to preserve the classic flavor and it’s still full of the crunchy, nutty topping. Without all the sugar, you can actually taste sweet potato flavor too. As part of the dinner plate, it is still a sweet standout, as most sweet potato recipes are, but it is not a palate-killer either.
It is easily doubled and freezes beautifully. You can make it weeks in advance then take it out the day before you want it and have a no-hassle side dish that will please everyone. Enjoy!
Sorry, no how-to shots this time. I took them, but they are now a distant memory thanks to a little oops with the delete button.