Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Pioneer Woman's Sweet Potato Casserole or is it a Dessert Crisp? You be the judge...

It's no secret that I love sweet potatoes.  I've seen this casserole recipe in various cookbooks, but it was the Pioneer Woman's blog that finally convinced me to try this recipe.  I zeroed in on this sweet potato casserole for two reasons-- it looked simple, and I had lots of pecans (do you say PEE-CANS or PE-KAHNS?).  I wondered if my family would miss my Candied Yams (with melted marshmallows on half to appease the grownup kids) , but this year, I wanted to be different.  P-Dub always does a great tutorial, but once again-- let me show you how I did it:
Technically, these are Garnet Yams.  Wash 'em and I like to poke a few holes in the top.

In the meantime, let's make the topping. You can do this at any stage of making this, but I'm all about efficiency. It's the German in me, I think.

One cup of pecans, and 1 cup of brown sugar...

Chop the pecans-- fine, but not too fine (hence, I didn't use the food processor).

You need 3/4 of a stick of butter, and 1/2 cup of flour. You know the drill-- a pastry cutter, two knives, your fingers...whatever works for you. Mix it, till crumbly. Set it aside, or you can even make this a day ahead.

Roast these babies at 375F for 30-35 minutes, or until fork tender. I love to roast vegetables; they make everything taste so much better. Why would anyone buy canned Yams? I don't get it!

These are roasted perfectly. Let them cool long enough so you don't burn your hands.

Cut them in half and scoop out the "meat". I like to use an ice cream scoop. A spoon works fine, too.

I was "fasting" for dinner, but I ate some of the skins and pulp. Yams are good for you-- and it's guilt-free. Well, in this state it is-- I'm about to go down the road of sin, Pioneer Woman Style.

You need two eggs, whisked. Kosher salt. Vanilla. Not imitation stuff, but real vanilla, please. I decided to add just a teenie weenie bit of pumpkin pie spice-- less than 1/2 teaspoon. That's not in P-Dub's recipe.

 Now, for the white sugar. 1 cup of it.  NOTE: The next time I make this (and I shall), I will use half the white sugar, but it's up to you.

Now, let's talk about texture.  I don't like my yams to be like baby food puree'.  I like it a little chunky.  I'm also quick to take good shortcuts. Instead of a masher, I used a hand mixer. I broke it down just enough to be slightly chunky. Now add the eggs and the milk...

I decided to make these as individual ramekins. With the leftover yams, I poured it into a larger dish...just in case I needed it.

Green is my favorite color.  I found these ramekins at Kohl's Online and they're by Rachel Ray. Surfing the net, with my purse close by is a very dangerous thing.

Sprinkle the sweet potatoes/yams with the topping...

I made these in the morning, to I put them in the refrigerator until dinnertime which was at 5:30.
When you're ready, bake these at 400F for about 30 minutes.

These smell incredibly good. I wish I could describe it other than "yummy"!

A hush came over the dinner table when this was tasted.  Eyes lit up.  Who needs marshmallows?!

This is one of those side dishes that you want to devour all at once. The concensus was that this very sweet-- almost a dessert.  I think the white sugar could easily be decreased, without sacrificing good flavor. But, you decide yourself.  Is this a side dish or dessert?

I think it's both.  I had extra pecan topping.  Hmmmm, I have pears and cranberries. I think this would make a delicious crumble!  I have to give some credit to George Gaston of " A nod is as good as a wink to a blind horse" for also inspiring me to make this recipe. You see, he posted his mother's version of this (pretty close) and he was the once who suggested serving this in individual ramekins. Thanks, George!

You can print the recipe, at the very bottom of this posting. If you're reading this via email/feed burner, you'll need to jump to my blog to do this.

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Big Dude said...

I love sweet potato cassarole and this one looks terrific.

Stacey Snacks said...

Definitely a Dessert!
I love the pic of the roasted potato dripping with syrup! Yum!

Cheryl said...

MMMM! I would definitely say a dessert because anything that is sweet and not savory is a dessert to me. That looks absolutely delicious, but what I can't get over are those cute little ramekins. I have never eaten a sweet potato before. I know, being from the south that is like blasphemy, right? Before you blind fold me and line me up on the firing range, I promise, next time I am at the farmers market and my favorite produce guy is selling sweet taters, I will buy one and try this recipe. I gotta get me some of those ramekins or it just won't turn out right. Hehe.

I wonder if you could take a flame to the top and get some nummy darkened bits?

TKW said...

Whatever it is, it looks delicious!

George Gaston said...

Debby... Thanks for the nod! My mom will be so happy that you are passing on her sweet potato recipe on to your readers.

And to answer your question; I have to say, "Casserole or Dessert Crisp ~ it doesn't matter how these recipes are made, the end results is just plan good!"

Monica H said...

These ramekins are too cute. I have a couple things on my list from Kohls and I might have to add these to them!

Yummy is a great adjective to describe these sweet potatoes. They look wonderful!

Donna-FFW said...

Oh it looks wonderful and I am so trying this for one of my next holiday meals.

bella said...

Debbie, The "PW"s sweet potato/yam dish looks wonderful. I have 2 favorite recipes that are sorta similar, but this one will be baked the next time. Then I'll have 3 winning recipes for Sweet potatoes. Did you see the article about the PW in Southern Living in November. I'd read so much about her that I went to her web-site and now I'm smitten! I'll check out your new blog ! All the best, Roz

Joanne said...

Personally, I'm pretty sure I would eat this for dessert, dinner, breakfast, and lunch. That is just how much I love sweet potatoes! I am a chunky girl myself as well.

Thanks for coming up with this excellent idea for a blog event!

Also, the ramekins are definitely a good idea. Otherwise I could see myself eating the whole pan.

Chef Vira Eison said...

This is really good, but c'mon. Basically, what it is a southern sweet potatoe pie without the crust. Add milk, a little nutmeg & cinnamon, a good crust and you'll have a downhome, southern Sweet Potatoe Pie. Enjoy!

Debby Foodiewife said...

I agree. It's a crustless pie, really. That's why I called it a dessert crisp, Chef. I'm not a big fan of pie crust, so I love this as a dessert, or a side dish, or for breakfast... all good!