I just want my faithful blog readers to know how much I love them...because I am going out on a limb and risking my life for this post. The reason? I made this dish, which is the absolute favorite of my sis-in-law, when she is not around. Mind you, she keeps asking for this dish (at random times like in the spring when I can't get good sweet potatoes) and I've had to keep turning her down. She graciously accepts my reasons but deep down inside, she loves this dish so much she has to have it. And I've made it. Only she can't eat it because she's not around. I'm going to be in big trouble. But for you, my faithful readers, I do it. Because this is just that yummy and so good and I know that if you put this on your table this Thanksgiving, people are going to love it.
Ideally, good Thanksgiving/holiday side dishes can be prepared ahead of time, and do not require too much oven time - as oven time is precious for most families who only have one smaller oven (like me!). This dish is great because you can prepare it ahead of time, and it really only requires about 15 minutes in an oven to warm through and be ready for serving.
Tonight, when I made it, Daughters #1 and #2 absolutely adored it. Daughter #2 in particular liked the topping of apples and pears and kept on asking for just a bit of the potato and a lot of the topping. (I gave her most of my topping.) I got to enjoy the creamy rich sweet potato and the delicious zing of ginger and the richness of cream and butter.
This is a combination of two recipes I got on Martha Stewart and I added my own Asian twist (Asian pears and Japanese/Korean sweet potatoes-고구마) to the dish to get my version. You can use regular sweet potatoes, but I definitely prefer the texture of the Japanese sweet potato as it is less mushy, has more depth of flavor, and becomes absolutely special when it is whipped.
Before Thanksgiving, try this out as a meal with the following:
Rosemary Pork Chops
Green Bean Bits with Crispy Garlic
Sweet potatoes with pork chops and green beans...perfect practice for Thanksgiving** Preparation notes
To make things easier the day of your meal, you can try and break up the work into smaller parts. I generally bake the sweet potatoes the day before I need them. I refrigerate them in their skins, and the day I want to make the casserole, I heat them up lightly in the microwave, and the proceed with the recipe.
I assemble the casserole while my turkey is in the oven. (the oven is cooking so I am free.) I put it together and have it ready to put in as soon as I pull the turkey out for resting. I usually get it put together about 1-2 hours before it will actually go into the oven.
Sweet Potato Casserole With Caramelized Apples and Pears (adapted from Martha Stewart)
4 large sweet potatoes (I use the Japanese/Korean sweet potatoes - about 4 lbs), pierced with the tines of a fork
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1/2 cup applesauce
2 teaspoons grated fresh peeled ginger
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper
Apple Pear Topping
2 tablespoons of butter
1 apple (fuji or granny smith) and 1 Asian pear (1-1.5 lbs total apple and pear), peeled, cored, and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange potatoes on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake until tender, 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 20 minutes. Remove from oven; let stand until cool enough to handle. (you can do this the day before you need the dish.)
Cut each potato lengthwise. Scoop flesh into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment; discard skins. Add 2 tablespoons butter and the cream; mix on medium speed until smooth. Mix in applesauce and ginger; season with salt and pepper. Transfer potato mixture to an ovenproof dish.
Toss apple and pear with sugar in a bowl. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add apple mixture; cook, stirring occasionally, until apples and pears are golden and caramelized, about 10 minutes. Spread evenly over the top of potato mixture.
Bake until heated through, about 15 minutes.
To quote someone, "Love at first spoonful."