An ode to my beloved sweet potatoes, please! We always had them at home: my mom would prepare them sliced and baked, with cinnamon, sugar & butter. I will always love and crave that particular way of eating them, it was a common year-round treat for us. And, of course, there’s no home cooking like mom’s home cooking…however, for the holidays, sweet potatoes made their routine appearance in the form of a mega sweet marshmallow-topped casserole.
Sweet potato pie is a traditional dessert in the southern United States, served usually during the holiday season, either in Thanksgiving or Christmas. It’s often made in the form of a large tart in an open pie shell without a top crust, with a baked custard-like filling with an appropriate ratio of mashed sweet potatoes, milk & eggs – kind of like pecan or pumpkin pie, come to think of it! In Honduras, many households prepare a simple mashed sweet potato bake, topped with marshmallows for an added sweetness. For my recipe, I adopted the denser mashed sweet potato version, but kept the bottom pie crust and the marshmallow topping. One year, I didn’t find marshmallows – eastern Germany! – and so I prepared it differently, with a baked crumble topping. It was also very good!
For the Bake
- 3 cups (600g) of mashed sweet potatoes
- 2/3 cup (130g) of sugar
- 1/2 cup (115g) of butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
- 1/3 cup (80ml) of milk
- Salt to taste
To begin, boil your sweet potatoes until soft. This recipe works with about 5 medium-sized sweet potatoes, or 3 very large ones. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, prepare the pie crust: my recommended fool-proof recipe can be found here. The recipe yields enough for two small pies, but it can be frozen for later use for up to 3 months.
Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C). Let the cooked sweet potatoes cool in cold water, and remove the skins. Place in a medium sized bowl and mash with a wooden spoon, making a well in the center. Add the sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, & milk, plus a little bit of salt to bring out the flavors. Beat well to combine until smooth.
In a casserole dish, place a layer of pie dough of about 1/8in (1/3cm) and compact well. Spread evenly on the entire bottom of the dish, or work it up along the sides for more of a pie aspect. I like using only the bottom layer as crust for this particular casserole. Pour in the sweet potato mixture and spread evenly. If you are adding a crumble topping, add before placing in the oven. A simple crumble topping is made of: 1/3 cup (80g) of butter, 1 cup (200g) of brown sugar, 1/2 cup (170g) of flour, & 1 cup (125g) of pecans.
Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. For the last 10 minutes, add an even layer of large marshmallows, making sure to cover entire surface. Let the marshmallows melt and brown, but be sure to keep on eye on them! They burn quickly!