Sweet Potato Purée with Pecan Streusel: A Little Something On the Side

As you might have gathered, we’re big fans of Thanksgiving here at P&C. Last year, Shiv even live-blogged her fabulous Thanksgiving fête. While I’ve helped put on a huge Fakesgiving celebration a few times before and after the actual holiday, I hadn’t cooked a full Thanksgiving menu by myself until recently. Luckily, I received a review copy of Diane Morgan’s  The New Thanksgiving Table, so I had a good source for inspiration.

Many of the recipes in this book aren’t really limited to Thanksgiving. I’m sure your guests at any dinner party wouldn’t mind being served Vermont farmhouse cheddar cheese straws or crostini with gulf shrimp, jalapeno and lime, and a parsnip-potato soup topped with crispy bacon would make a delicious meal for any time.

If you’re feeling Thanksgiving ennui and looking for something new, this is also the place for updated classics. There’s turkey glazed with maple syrup, and instructions for spatchcocked turkey roasted with lemon. There’s a riff on stuffing with Linguiça sausage and a sweet potato dish basted with chipotle and lime.

I cooked up Morgan’s sweet potato purée topped with a sweet pecan streusel. I tweaked the quantities slightly, reducing the butter a bit and cutting down the brown sugar—my sweet potatoes were pretty sweet to begin with.

Roasting the sweet potatoes concentrates their flavor nicely, but an equivalent amount of canned unsweetened sweet potato purée is not a huge compromise in this recipe. Just check the ingredients on the can first, or you might hit sugar overload before you even get to the pie.

Sweet Potato Purée with Pecan Streusel
adapted from The New Thanksgiving Table
Serves 8

5 pounds dark orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (I used a mix of jewel yams and garnet yams, though both are actually varieties of sweet potatoes)
1/4 cup (half a stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup milk, warmed
3 large eggs, lightly beaten

For streusel topping:
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp kosher or sea salt
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pierce each potato several times with a fork and place them on a baking pan. Bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours until very tender when pierced with a fork. Set aside until cool.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup butter. Add the brown sugar and cook, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture bubbles. Set aside. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Discard the skins. Mash with a potato masher (or use a food mill or ricer) until smooth. Stir in the hot butter/brown sugar mixture and add warm milk. Stir until incorporated. Whisk in the eggs until well combined.

Grease a 3-qt gratin or casserole with butter. Spread the sweet potato mixture evenly in the casserole and set aside while you make the topping. Raise the oven temperature to 375°F.

To make streusel, combine the pecans, flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl. Stir in the melted butter and cream. Spread the topping evenly over the sweet potatoes. Bake for about 45 minutes until the potatoes are hot throughout and the topping is nicely browned and crisp. Serve immediately.

Note: The whipped sweet potatoes and topping can be made up to 1 day in advance. Cover and refrigerate in separate containers. Remove 2 hours before baking. Warm the topping before spreading over the potatoes.

In thanksgiving, yams

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