The Best Sweet Potato Casserole

​Truth be told, I used to shudder at the sight of the sweet potato casserole that appeared on our table each Thanksgiving. It was made with canned "candied yams," which were mushy and syrupy-sweet (sorry, Mom), and blanketed in an airtight layer of mini marshmallows. But I love sweet potatoes; I love marshmallows. Couldn't the two work well together somehow? I figured a little research might help me find a way. The sweet potato casserole I now make synthesizes elements from various stages in the dish's evolution. Taking a cue from Southern cooks who top their casserole with pecans, I top mine with a pecan crumble made with oats, flour, butter, brown sugar, and salt, which provides the right sweet-savory crunch. That would be delicious enough, but to me it's just not complete without marshmallows: They're such a nice, airy counterpoint to the rich and earthy potatoes. I use them sparingly, as they were in the original recipe from 1917, which allows a large surface area of each marshmallow to crisp in the oven. It may not be how Mom used to make it, but it's a dish I truly love-and not just out of nostalgia. -Lesley Porcelli, excerpted from How Sweet It Is: The Perfect Sweet Potato Casserole

RECIPE: Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Crumble
This sweet potato casserole is an especially festive, over-the-top take on the Thanksgiving classic, topped with a crisp pecan crumble and dotted with marshmallows.

SERVES 6-8

INGREDIENTS
FOR THE FILLING:
3 lbs. sweet potatoes
⅓ cup packed dark brown sugar
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1″ piece ginger, finely grated
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING:
½ cup flour
½ cup rolled oats
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ cup finely chopped pecans
½ tsp. kosher salt
5 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
¼ cup mini marshmallows

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INSTRUCTIONS1. Heat oven to 425°. Place sweet potatoes on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake until soft, about 1½ hours; let cool for 30 minutes, and then remove skins. Pass potatoes through a food mill into a large bowl; stir in sugar, butter, cream, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, eggs, ginger, and pepper. Pour mixture into a 1½-qt. baking dish and smooth top; set aside.


2. Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Stir together flour, oats, sugar, pecans, and salt in a bowl; add butter and, using your fingers, rub butter into flour mixture until large crumbles form. Mound crumble mixture over filling, dot with marshmallows, and bake until filling is hot and crumble and marshmallows are browned, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.

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