Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Streusel Topping

 Serves 12 – 15

For the Topping

1     Cup All Purpose Flour

3/4  Cup Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar

1      Teaspoon Salt

1      Teaspoon Cinnamon

8      Tablespoons (1 Stick) Cold Unsalted Butter, Cut into 1/2 Inch Cubes

1½   Cups Chopped Pecans

For the Sweet Potatoes

7        Lbs. Sweet Potatoes

¼       Cup Heavy Cream

2        Teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract

8        Tablespoons (1 Stick) Unsalted Butter Melted

3        Large Eggs

½       Cup Maple Syrup

½       Cup Orange Blossom Honey

¾       Cup Firmly Packed Light Brown Sugar

2        Teaspoons Fine Sea Salt

1        Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

¼       Teaspoon Freshly Grated Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 450º

To prepare the topping, in a bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon.  Using your fingers, a pastry blender or two knives cut in the butter until the flour mixture has been completely absorbed into the butter.  The mixture should hold together when squeezed with your hand but still crumble apart easily.  Stir in the pecans, Set aside.

To prepare the sweet potatoes, put them a large roasting pan and add a small amount of water.  Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil and roast until the potatoes are tender and easily pierced with a knife, 1 to 1 1/2 Hours.  (Don’t forget to pierce the potatoes with a knife before roasting.)  Cool the potatoes completely.  Once cool, remove the skins from the potatoes.  Refrigerate the potatoes for several hours.  This will make them much easier to handle and cut.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 Degrees.

Remove the potatoes from the refrigerator and cut the flesh into 1/2 cubes.  Transfer one-fourth of the potatoes to a large bowl and mash with a potato masher.  Set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together the cream, vanilla, butter, eggs, maple syrup, honey, brown sugar, salt, pepper and nutmeg.  Add the cream mixture to the mashed sweet potatoes and stir until well combined. Combine this mixture with the cubed potatoes and GENTLY stir to combine.  (Gently toss so as not to mash the cubes.)

Transfer the mixture to a 3-quart rectangular baking dish that has been sprayed with bakers spray such as PAM and sprinkle with the Streusel topping.  Bake until the topping is golden and crispy and the potatoes are hot and cooked all the way through, 45 to 60 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Hints and Tips:  To test the potatoes to be sure they are hot all the way through, insert a thin bladed knife into the center of the dish and leave it there for 30 seconds.  If the knife blade is hot then the potatoes are ready.

You can do some of this recipe in advance.  The streusel topping can be made the day before and refrigerated until you are ready to use it.

The potatoes can be cooked the day before as well, but peel them while they are still warm.

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