Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Coconut-Pecan-Crumble Sweet Potato Casserole



"I knew it was time to find a level of acceptance for the strangest of American Thanksgiving traditions, sweet potato casseroles with toasted marshmallows. I could never get my head around this dish — so sweet! so weird on a plate with turkey and gravy!" Deb - from Smitten Kitchen





But I must agree with her.  When we first moved to America in 1989, fresh off the boat from Australia, some very kind neighbors invited us over for Thanksgiving.  Our very first Thanksgiving. I was 14 years old.  We arrived at the Albert's house, and were stunned to be served food that barely resembled... well, dinner.  Green beans smothered in some sort of crunchy (yet delicious) goop (green bean casserole), corn with piles of cream and cheese, and to top it off, marshmallows on sweet potatoes.  




As most kids around America probably know, this dish is so sweet, almost like a desert, so my brother and I devoured it. 


 A little different from the canned sweet potatoes smothered with blobs of marshmallow, this casserole keeps all the flavor of the dish, but lightens it up and adds some health with nuts and oats.  In a word, it is delicious. 
Enjoy!


Healthy Oatmeal-Coconut-Pecan-Crumble Sweet Potato Casserole 
from How Sweet It is (a gorgeous blog, and I'm thankful for this recipe)
These ingredients and directions are Jessica's words exactly

ingredients:
sweet potato layer
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/3 cup canned lite coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter

oatmeal coconut pecan crumble
1/2 cup whole, unsalted pecans, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut
1 tablespoon whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 cup mini marshmallows

Directions:
Peel and chop sweet potatoes into 1 1/2 inch cubes. Add to a pot with cold water, then bring to a boil. Cook until potatoes are fork tender, about 20-30 minutes, then drain. While sweet potatoes are cooking, add butter to a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisking constantly, cook until little brown bits appear in the pan – about 4-5 minutes. Remove immediately from heat and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mix (or a large bowl, using a hand mixer) or, in Angie's case, mix by hand with a masher, add sweet potatoes. Add all remaining ingredients – sugar, syrup, spices, salt, vanilla extract, coconut milk and brown butter – and mix on low speed until combined about 30 seconds. Mix on medium speed for another 1-2 minutes, until potatoes are whipped. Spread in an oven-safe pan or dish. I used an 9 x 2 1/2 round tart pan.

Combine oats, sugar, flour, pecans, coconut, spices and salt in a bowl and mix to thoroughly combine. Add in softened butter, and use your hands to completely moisten the mixture and clump it together. Sprinkle the crumble around the outside of the dish, leaving room in the center for marshmallows. Add marshmallows to the middle. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crumble is golden and marshmallows are gooey.

Notes: If you want to skip the marshmallows, I suggest doubling the crumble mixture and covering the entire top with it. If you can’t find unsweetened, flaked coconut (I use Bob’s Red Mill brand), using sweetened is fine, but I would decrease the sugar by a 1/2 tablespoon (or more/less, depending on tastes). You can also sub in milk, cream or half and half for the coconut milk if you wish. However, the coconut milk does NOT add a coconut flavor to the casserole.


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