Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecans

Sweet Potato Casserole with Maple Pecans

From the Thermador and Tastespotting Ultimate Recipe Contest

Submitted by: Katie Webster
http://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/ 

This is Katie’s take on the classic Thanksgiving Side Dish, candied yams, or mashed yams with browned marshmallows on top. She ‘slimmed down’ the classic sweet potato casserole recipe, but kept it indulgent-feeling with a layer of gooey maple pecans and Italian Meringue on top. It gets finished under the broiler for that classic sweet potato casserole look!


Makes: 16 servings, about 2/3 cup each
Active Time: 40 minutes. Total Time: 50 minutes

4 pounds peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1½ inch chunks
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1½ teaspoon salt, plus a pinch, divided
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch chipotle powder
1 cup orange juice, preferably freshly squeezed
2 large egg whites, room temperature, see *tip
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ cup chopped pecans

1.Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover generously with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and return to the pot. Add 3 tablespoons butter, 1 ¼ teaspoon salt, cinnamon and chipotle powder. Mash with a potato masher until no large lumps remain. Add orange juice and mash until smooth. Cover and keep warm.


2.Position oven rack in upper third of the oven. Heat broiler. Coat a broiler-safe 2 ½ quart casserole dish with cooking spray.

3.Beat egg whites and ¼ teaspoon salt in a stand mixer until soft peaks form. Mix sugar and water in a small saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, swirling pan gently to dissolve sugar. Do not slosh sugar solution on the sides of the pan. Boil undisturbed, until a candy thermometer just reaches 238 degrees F. Immediately drizzle sugar syrup into the egg white mixture while the mixer is beating continually. Continue beating until the bottom of the bowl is only slightly warm, about 2 minutes longer. Scoop the meringue into a large re-sealable bag and set aside.

4.Mix maple syrup, the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and the remaining pinch of salt in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium heat until the mixture boils. Add pecans and cook, stirring constantly until the nuts are coated, 1 to 2 minutes.

5.Spread the sweet potato mixture in the prepared casserole dish. Top with the pecans. Cut the corner of the re-sealable bag off and pipe the meringue decoratively over the sweet potato mixture. Broil, rotating as necessary until the top is browned, 30 seconds to 2 minutes.

*tip: To warm egg whites to room temperature quickly and safely, place whole un-cracked eggs in a small bowl. Cover with very warm water and let sit several  minutes. Drain and separate eggs as usual.