Rinse the sweet potatoes to remove any residual dirt. Place them in a deep pot with enough water to cover by about 1 inch. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a high simmer and cook for 40-45 minutes or until the potatoes are very tender.
Remove the sweet potatoes from the water and allow them to cool enough to handle. (I slice them open to hurry the cooling process.)
While the sweet potatoes cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and generously butter a baking dish. I typically use my 3-quart oval baking dish for this recipe.
Peel the sweet potatoes, place them in a mixing bowl, and mash using a potato masher or large fork. Add the softened butter, light brown sugar, milk, egg, and vanilla.
Beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until smooth.
Spread the sweet potato mixture into the prepared baking dish.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the ingredients for the topping. Use a fork to mix well. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the sweet potato mixture.
Bake for 30 minutes in the 350 degree preheated oven.
Makes 6 servings. Easily doubles to serve a larger crowd.Ingredients:
You'll need about three medium sweet potatoes. A total weight of about 16 to 20 ounces. When choosing sweet potatoes, look for short plump ones. Longer, skinnier sweet potatoes tend to be stringy.
If your sweet potatoes are still quite warm, wait until you've beaten them for a minute or so before you add the egg. This will help lower the temperature and stop the egg from cooking in the heat of the sweet potatoes.
Pecans are tradtional in the topping, but you can also try walnuts or almonds.
To make a dairy-free version, substitute the milk and butter for coconut milk and dairy-free margarine.
To make the recipe gluten free, substitute the flour with checkpea, almond, oat, or rice flour.
A vegan version may be made by using a dairy-free butter alternative and nut milk instead of whole milk. You'll skip the egg as well, but that really won't make much difference.
Make Ahead and Storage Information:
To make ahead, cook and mash the sweet potatoes and add them to the baking dish. Mix the pecan streusel and store it in a zip-top bag. When ready to cook, bring the potatoes to room temperature, add the topping and bake.
Store, covered in the refrigerator for up to four days.
The cooked casserole can be cooled and frozen. Cover well and freeze for up to three months. Let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating and serving.
How much is "three medium sweet potatoes?" There isn't much agreement between online sources as to what constitutes a "medium sweet potato." I generally consider about 5 to 7 ounces per sweet potato to be a medium size. For this recipe, you'd need to purchase about 16 to 20 ounces total weight of sweet potatoes.
Can I use canned sweet potatoes? You can use canned sweet potatoes in this recipe, but there will be subtle differences in taste. For this recipe, you'd need at least two 16-ounce cans of candied yams (not yams at all - see above), well drained. You'll also need to adjust the sugar because the canned yams will already be sweetened. I recommend Bruce's brand for canned, candied yams.