Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Weekend Gourmet Flashback: Southern Praline Sweet Potato Casserole #thanksgiving #southernsidedish #sweetpotato #streusel

Can you believe Thanksgiving is coming up in TWO DAYS?!?!? I love trying new recipes every holiday season -- but some dishes are simply a must every year...including the recipe I'm sharing today. If you're looking for a new way to prepare your sweet potatoes this Thanksgiving, this is truly a winner of a dish! What are you thankful for this year? When I was in the hospital following my stroke in late 2017, I was unable to swallow anything. Not only was I away from my family's big celebration...I couldn't eat. My Thanksgiving meal that year was liquid formula through a stomach feeding tube. Now? Thanksgiving has a whole new meaning for me! I'm thankful for surviving my stroke, a loving family...and learning to swallow and eat again!

Growing up, we always had a big Southern-style meal at my grandparents' house with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Sweet potatoes topped with gooey melted marshmallows were on the menu back then. I love sweet potatoes...but I make mine a bit different. My Southern Praline Sweet Potato Casserole is easy to make and bursting with signature southern flavors. A creamy sweet potato base is flavored with maple syrup, orange liqueur (or orange juice), and pumpkin pie spice. Then? It's topped with a crumbly pecan praline flavored streusel. I've been making this casserole for years -- it's my personal riff on a recipe I first saw in Cooking Light magazine. Everyone who tries it love it! As a bonus, it can be assembled a day ahead and refrigerated overnight until you're ready to bake it -- saving you valuable time Thanksgiving Day.

Southern Praline Sweet Potato 
adapted from Cooking Light
Ingredients (makes 6 servings):
  • 3 lbs. sweet potatoes -- approximately three large sweet potatoes
  • 5-ounces evaporated milk (i.e., one small can)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup orange liqueur OR orange juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
For the praline streusel:
  • 1 cup all-purpose baking mix
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup chopped chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 4 tbs. butter softened in the microwave for 30 seconds
Step 1: Bake the sweet potatoes at 375 until softened -- approximately 1.5 hours. Cool slightly and scoop the inside of the sweet potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Add the evaporated milk, egg, maple syrup, orange liqueur/juice, vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir until the ingredients are incorporated into a smooth puree. Evenly spoon into an 8x8 pan that has been sprayed with non-stick spray.
Step 2: Make the praline streusel. Add the baking mix, pumpkin pie spice, pecans, brown sugar, and butter to a mixing bowl. Combine with a fork until the ingredients form a crumbly mixture. Evenly sprinkle the praline streusel on top of the sweet potato mixture.
Step 3: Bake the casserole in a 375℉ oven until the praline streusel is golden brown -- approximately 30 minutes. Let the baked casserole cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. 
This comforting casserole is so good! The praline streusel topping bakes up like a soft cookie, and the sweet potatoes are silky smooth. Using fresh sweet potatoes instead of canned is the key -- there's a huge difference in flavor and texture! I love the flavors of maple syrup and citrus in the sweet potatoes...and the warmth from the pumpkin pie spice permeates every bite. This casserole is a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving menu -- it's a true bite of the South. I hope you'll give it a try and let me know what you think!

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