My grandmother was from South Carolina, where sweet potato casserole with pecan streusel is not only a Thanksgiving staple but a major food group. Below is the recipe she made for me.
Sweet Potato Mixture
-3 pounds sweet potatoes (about 4 large or 8 small), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
-¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
-¾ teaspoon salt
-½ cup packed light brown sugar
-⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
-½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/4 cup milk
-¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter
-1 cup packed light brown sugar
-1/3 cup flour
-1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
-2-3 cups mini marshmallows (or more if desired)
Sweet Potato Mixture Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a 2 or 2 ½ quart casserole dish (preferably a rectangle or oval so there’s a decent surface area for the topping; I use an 8×11 cake pan which is also an option) and set aside.
Place the sweet potatoes in a large pot, cover with water, and boil until tender (about 7 minutes, depending on the size). Drain well and return to the pot. Add butter, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, nutmeg, and salt to the potatoes and mash until smooth. Use a hand mixer, if desired, to make them extra smooth. Taste the potatoes and add additional seasonings, if desired.
Transfer the mashed potatoes to the prepared casserole dish. Place in the oven until heated for 12-16 minutes. While the sweet potatoes are heating, prepare the topping.
In a medium bowl, combine butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt (I use a fork or rubber spatula to stir and mash the mixture), then mix in pecans. Instead of chopping pecans, I place them in a plastic sandwich bag and smash them into small, even pieces.
Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven. Top with half the marshmallows, then sprinkle half the streusel over the marshmallows. Top with the other half of the marshmallows and sprinkle the remaining streusel over the top.
Place back into the oven for 8-15 minutes, until the topping is bubbly and golden brown (keep an eye on it, so the marshmallows don’t burn). You can also place it under the broiler briefly to add more color to the marshmallows. Note: the longer it is in the oven, the more likely the marshmallows will begin to melt.
Allow to sit at room temperature for several minutes before serving.