I haven’t exactly followed the original family recipe this whole time I’ve been making it and sort of “eye-balled” some things. So the last time I made it, I wrote down exactly what I did so I could share!
I know many people who call this dish “Sweet Potato Crunch,” but the original recipe that came from our family was named “Sweet Potato Casserole.” Whatever you want to call it, there are many different versions of sweet potato casserole – some including marshmallows and some including a loosely assembled version of baked yams with pecans floating around.
This particular version is my family’s favorite way to eat baked sweet potatoes in casserole form, and Ernie often asks why we only serve this dish in the fall because he wants it year round! I have no idea why we usually have this in the fall. Maybe because that’s when sweet potatoes go on sale?
I know I normally change up recipes to make them healthier, but I haven’t tried any healthier sweeteners with this dish to replace the brown sugar portion. Although, I am wondering if replacing the brown sugar with 100% maple syrup would do the trick? Ernie would die if I messed up this dish, so I haven’t tried it yet. I’ll have to try it on a small batch one day to see how it comes out. But, for now, we are sticking to the original ingredients, only substituting conventional for organic. We’re not going to die from this one sugar-loaded dish. We do eat birthday cake, and many other treats on occasion.
I know some people may resort to using canned sweet potatoes or yams, but ever since I’ve opened up a can of sweet potatoes after using fresh ones, I just can’t do it. It’s not the same, and definitely does not taste as fresh. If it’s too much for you to handle all at once, just boil the sweet potatoes the day before, and store in the fridge until ready to use. I do this with many things so that my prep time is cut down.
Tips: You can also turn this dish into a sugar-free version if you’d like to substitute the sugars with Swerve or Stevia. As with many recipes, the flour can be substituted for a gluten-free flour mix.
First, start by peeling and cubing the potatoes, then gently boiling them until a fork pierces very easily through and through.
Drain well until cooled slightly, but still warm, and mash down into the measuring cup until you get the amount you need for the recipe.
Dump into the mixing bowl with all ingredients for the Filling. Then, pour into a greased 13×9 dish and spread evenly.
Bake uncovered for about 25-30 minutes at 350°F, or until the sweet potato mixture begins to gel together and rise and resemble a cake. You can test it by poking with a fork to see how it’s looking on the inside. I started baking it this way first, without the topping first, because I found that my casserole kept coming out too mushy and the topping was browning too much before the filling was all the way cooked. I seriously determined this by trial and error.
As you can see, I also have some of the filling in a separate dish because my little man is allergic to pecans.
While the filling is baking, blend together your topping ingredients, except the butter.
The coarseness of the pecans is totally optional. Some like them chopped finely and some like them more coarse. I like them chopped a little more than they come when you buy them “chopped in pieces.” In the photo below, they are actually a little more coarse than I like them. But no one was complaining!
Then add the melted butter and mix together until moist, and sprinkle on top of the casserole evenly.
Now bake for another 20-30 minutes until the topping is all melted together and browned. Baking it this way will ensure that your filling is fully cooked and set.
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