If you’re a fan of sweet potato casserole at Thanksgiving, but are looking for an alternative to ubiquitous marshmallow topping, this is the recipe for you. It’s an easy dish that can be made a day ahead and baked when needed. Make ahead recipes are really key to a manageable and peaceful Thanksgiving celebration! Marmalade is the secret ingredient that compliments both the sweet potatoes and the crunchy oat topping. A potato masher will yield slightly lumpy sweet potatoes, which gives the dish a rustic homey appeal; a food mill, however, will make a perfectly smooth puree. You can also skip the cookie topping and just serve the sweet potatoes on their own.
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
5 pounds sweet potatoes (about 8 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 Tablespoons heavy cream
3 Tablespoons packed brown sugar, dark or light
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1/4 cup sweet orange marmalade
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh gingerroot
1 ½ teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
14 three-inch crisp oatmeal cookies,(like McVitie’s HobNobs) broken into pieces (about 3 cups)
¼ cup toasted pecans
Pinch cayenne pepper
Pinch ground cumin
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
For the topping:
1. In a food processor grind cookies fine. Add the pecans and spices and pulse
3-4 times. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles soft cookie dough. Wrap
topping in wax paper and chill until firm, about 2 hours. Topping may be made 1
day ahead and chilled, covered.
For the sweet potatoes:
1. Melt the butter in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potatoes, cream, brown sugar, maple syrup, orange juice, salt and pepper; bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring often, until the sweet potatoes are tender (a paring knife can be slipped into and out of the center of the potatoes with very little resistance), 45 to 60 minutes.
2. Off heat, mash sweet potatoes in saucepan with potato masher (or press through a food mill). Stir in marmalade and gingerroot . Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread potato mixture evenly in baking dish. Preheat oven to 400F. Crumble the chilled topping mixture over potato mixture and bake in middle of oven until topping is browned lightly, about 25-35 minutes. (Potato mixture may be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Bring potato mixture to room temperature before proceeding)