Would you believe me if I told you that before I made this Whipped Sweet Potato Casserole, I had never before experienced the deliciousness that is this great classic. Boy had I ever been missing out! This stuff is out of this world deeeeee-lish!
But I dunno, for some reason, the idea of pairing such an extremely sweet dish with savory meat and veggies always kind of put me off, so I was not in the least inspired to whip one up. But then, I got curious (yeah, curiosity always gets the best of me) and decided I had to give it a go.
Needless to say I had to peruse the web to get some ideas and inspiration… but, I just couldn’t seem to find THE one recipe that truly spoke to me. And to be honest, I kind of went easy on myself… I’ve seen many so many versions that call for marshmallows, I almost changed my mind. Frankly, I’m really not sold on that idea. I mean, really? Marshmallows in a sweet potato dish that’ll get served alongside turkey and stuffing? For me, that’s a little bit overboard!
Still, I get the feeling that someday, my curiosity will win once again and I’ll end up making a batch of paleo marshmallows just so I can give it a try.
But for the time being, I decided to stick with candied pecans… that was plenty “out there” for my taste.
Most of the recipes I checked had you peel and boil or steam your sweet potatoes. Ugh! I really don’t care for boiled or steamed sweet potatoes. I think they bring up memories from a distant past when I totally disliked sweet potatoes (as in I almost gagged on them) so I’d rather keep those thoughts buried deep and undisturbed. For me, when it comes to cooking sweet potatoes, oven baked is the way to go!
For realz, the tubers come out of there so insanely rich and creamy, which is just what you need to make an awesome puree!
Baking the sweet potatoes is stupid easy. Simply cut them in half; place them in a broiler pan and then drizzle them with a generous amount of extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper, then turn the tubers flesh side down, cover with aluminum foil and bake in a 375°F oven for about 45 minutes, or until they can easily be pierced with a fork.
While the potatoes are baking, bring the maple syrup to a boil in a medium skillet set over high heat.
If you happen to have a carbon steel skillet, now would be a good time to take it out: it works great for this task because it’s so thin and can withstand the intense heat. Of course, just about any other skillet will do the trick. Avoid using a non-stick pan, though: they’re simply not designed to handle that kind of heat…
Let the syrup boil for 2-3 minutes, then throw your pecans right in…
Continue cooking for about 2 minutes, or until the maple syrup is practically all gone.
Kill the heat and sprinkle the candied nuts with a little bit of salt and cinnamon; stir well and then transfer the nuts onto a silpat or piece of parchment paper. This will help halt the cooking process and ensure that your nuts don’t stick to the pan.
When the sweet potatoes are completely cooked, remove them from the oven (don’t turn it off though, you’ll need to use it again later) and let them cool for a few minutes until you can safely handle them, then either peel them by pulling gently on the skin or scoop the flesh out with a spoon.
Frankly, that skin comes off so easily when you pull on it, I think that’s the easiest and most efficient way to go about it.
Put the potato flesh in the work bowl of your stand mixer and break it down on low speed using the paddle attachment.
If you don’t have one of those fancy stand mixers, you could also do this by hand with a potato masher.
While your potatoes are getting pre-smashed, add the eggs, maple syrup, lemon juice, salt, pepper and nutmeg to a large mixing bowl and whisk until well combined.
Trade the paddle attachment for the whisk and give the potatoes a good whip on medium speed.
With the motor still running, slowly pour the egg mixture as close as possible to the side of the bowl so it doesn’t hit the beater as it goes down.
The reason why you want to do this while the motor is still running is you don’t want the heat of the potatoes to cook the eggs and have them curdle on you. Scrambled egg casserole is not what we’re after here…
Again, if you didn’t have one of those fancy stand mixers, you could do this with a hand-held mixer. Make sure, however, that you pour the egg mixture far away from those beaters and that you pour it while the beaters are in motion!
Continue whipping the potatoes for about a minute, until they become real light and fluffy.
Transfer the mashed potatoes to a ceramic baking dish and spread evenly.
Crumble the candied nuts and spread them across the potatoes…
…then drop little dollops of ghee all over the top. Return to the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pecans get nice and golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.
If like me you’ve never tried Whipped Sweet Potato Casserole, I urge you to give it a try now!
It’s quite an experience in itself, I swear. The contrast between the silky smooth, creamy, light and airy potato puree and the deliciously sweet and crunchy bits of candied nuts feels purely magical in your mouth. And what about flavor… OH! It’s so intense, so rich, so buttery and sweet, so spicy… so yum, I can’t even find the words to describe it. Seriously. This is a dish that demands to be experienced.
I’m not gonna lie to you, it is sweet. Very sweet, even. But by some strange mechanics, it actually works very well served alongside savory dishes, even something as simple as pan-fried eggs!
Now, I have to admit that this IS a little bit of a carb overload, but it’s very well worth it, I swear. Just don’t go overboard and eat the entire dish (even though I can guarantee you’ll have a very hard time stopping at only one serving) and maybe save it for special occasions, such as Thanksgiving maybe?
Believe me: just one bite will definitely have you wanting to give thanks, right, left and center!