Pecan Encrusted Sweet Potato Casserole (optional with apples)
Main Batter Ingredients
- 29 ounces Yams Bruce's Yams, canned, well-drained
- ½ cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- ¾ stick butter or margarine
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or triple amount of vanilla flavoring
- ½ cup half-and-half or whole milk
- ¾ tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup shredded coconut
- 1 medium apple diced small. Or, can use 1/2 can apple pie filling (diced small)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F, use middle shelf.
- Oil or grease a 10-inch cast iron skillet or a 13x9x2 casserole dish (or foil pan).
- Make the Batter: Drain the canned potatoes and mash them. Add them and any remaining main batter ingredients into a mixing bowl.29 ounces Yams, ½ cup sugar, 2 large eggs, ¾ stick butter, 1 tsp vanilla extract, ½ cup half-and-half, ¾ tsp cinnamon
- Optional Ingredients: This step is ONLY if you're adding in any of the optional ingredients. Add any of them in at this time. With the optional apple (or pie filling), it must be diced small.½ cup shredded coconut, 1 medium apple
- Now, mix all ingredients together in the mixing bowl by hand (no mixer). Lumpy batter is okay. Pour it into the greased skillet/pan.
- Make the Topping: Mix together the topping ingredients and spread evenly across the batter in the skillet/pan. Pat it down to come into better contact with the batter. Ensure there's at least a ½-inch space clearance from the top.2 tsp cinnamon, 2 cups chopped pecans, 1¼ stick butter, 1 cup all-purpose flour, ⅔ cup dark brown sugar
- Bake uncovered in the preheated 350°F oven in the center rack (or just below it) for 50-60 minutes, until topping becomes browned.
- After removed from oven, it will take about 15-30 minutes for the topping to harden.
- Fridge Storage: You can make this ahead without baking and store (covered) in the fridge for up to 3 days, dependent on the expiration date of the dairy ingredients used.
- Freezing: Not recommended. This has been tested and doesn't perform well. The end result loses its uniqueness and distinguishable flavor.
- Foil Pans and Transporting: If using Foil pans, due to their length, it's recommended to either use extra heavy duty pans or use double pans for each recipe. This is to reduce the possibility of it collapsing. Also, keep in mind food safety for food temperatures and the time duration when transporting.
As a Dessert
- If serving as a dessert (hot or cold), top off with whipped cream.
- Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe Overview
- Apple and Sweet Potato Casserole Option
- Planning Out The Sweet Potato Casserole
- History of This Recipe
- FAQ About Sweet Potatoes and Yams
Sweet Potato Casserole Recipe Overview
This is an extremely unique pecan crusted sweet potato casserole recipe. I refer to it as a pecan encrusted sweet potato casserole due to the deep, thick pecan crusting that is infused on top. Many sweet potato casseroles will have the main ingredients of sweet potatoes, marshmallows, and coconut. A noticeable amount of people aren’t fans of coconut or marshmallows so this one leaves those 2 out and adds in a rich pecan encrusted topping. This is an extremely unique recipe and can double as a dessert.
Apple and Sweet Potato Casserole Option
If you chose the optional ingredient of an apple, you’re in the unique position of having a very good apple and sweet potato casserole. However, you’ll want to test your taste buds if you also want to add the coconut or not. Some don’t care for adding both the diced apple and the coconut combined. So, I recommend you first just add the diced apple and move forward from that. Ensure you don’t cut any corners on the cooking time and the resting time as the apple needs to fully cook.
Planning Out The Sweet Potato Casserole
For ease, you can use canned yams, with my primary choice thus far as Bruce’s Yams, as I’ve tried several others. I’ve also tried it with fresh potatoes and didn’t notice a difference. The ingredients are pretty common already in the kitchen, outside of the yams and pecans. You can use vanilla flavoring if you don’t have the extract; just triple up on it.
The greatest thing is that you can plan this recipe in the baking dish and put it in the fridge for a max of 3 days before baking. When ready to bake, just set it out a little in advance (1 hour maybe) so the dish doesn’t break in the oven. Also, I’ve baked this in the disposable foil pans before with equal success in flavor at office luncheons.
Sweet Potato Casserole Temperature
The Sweet Potato Casserole Temperature can vary. Most recipes call for 350° or 375°F. This one calls for 350°F specifically because the higher temperature was tested and the quality of the cooking end result was noticeably lessened and it impacted the encrusting process as well. However, it was still good; it just wasn’t exceptionally good. So, if you’re needing to match the oven temperature with something else at 375°F, go ahead and just reduce the total baking time by 10 minutes.
History of This Recipe
When I worked at a Kroger deli in metro-Atlanta, it was approaching the Thanksgiving holidays. One day, two of the nicest elderly customers came up to the counter and began to speak with me. They were both friends and they commented about how they missed their sweet potato casseroles, as they were now unable to cook those dishes.
So, I mentioned to both of them that I could take both of their recipes and make a combination out of them so that they and others could enjoy it. In that particular deli, it was allowed to make specialty items and sell them. They both appeared excited about that and left. I was nervous because I was thinking I might have over-promised something.
They actually returned the next day and each gave me their handwritten recipes. I learned that some people didn’t like either coconut or marshmallows so, after some changes, I created a version of a single recipe. After some customers feedback, I tweaked it a bit and continued to make it. After a few changes, it was a smashing success. It always sold out and both of the ladies loved the idea of the encrusted pecan topping.
Over the decades, I’ve tested with making it ahead and storing in the fridge and freezer. I’ve cooked it and tested storage in both environments. I’ve gradually reduced both sugar types to a minimal level. I’ve even tested it with a plant-based sugar but it didn’t do well. I’ve tried it with marshmallows but that interfered with the topping. Coconut, however, does work well in the batter if you decide to add that in to your version.
With all that said, after nearly 30 years later, I’ve completed the final few modest changes to where it’s no longer altered. It’s a major change from the classic casserole and enjoyed by everyone.
FAQ About Sweet Potatoes and Yams
Are canned Yams the same as Sweet Potatoes?
Possibly. Only if the canned Yams are actually sweet potatoes due to a long history of incorrect terminology. Many recipes may call for (canned) Yams, which is considered technically canned sweet potatoes. Many canned Yams are actually sweet potatoes but that’s not a guarantee. This recipe calls for Bruce’s Yams as it’s been identified as using the sweetest part of the sweet potato.
Is there a difference between a Yam and a Sweet Potato?
Yes! There is a distinct difference between the Yam and the Sweet Potato. If you choose to use a fresh product instead of canned, be advised to ensure you get fresh sweet potatoes and don’t use fresh yams. However, some locations might use a sign that reports a sweet potato as a Yam, for consumer recognition due to a long history of mistaken naming. The sweet potato and yam come from two different sources. The true Yam is not sweet; the canned Yam (if a sweet potato, and most are), is sweet.
Does a Yam look different from a Sweet Potato?
Regarding canned Yams, if they’re actually sweet potatoes, they’re orange. Regarding fresh products, Yes; they’re noticeably different. The sweet potato will have an orange interior with a smooth skin. A true Yam will have a very rough outer skin (like bark) with a brown interior.
Resources of Sweet Potato Casserole
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