If your family is like mine, it is a must to have sweet potatoes on the holiday table. I must also say that our sweet potato dish starts with a stick of butter and is topped off with a cup (minimum) of sugar. Now you see why my family does not purchase bathroom scales. We will still make candied yams this year. If we didn't, we would be cast out of the family.
While I am willing to provide the traditional family favorites, I am also going to add a few healthier options. After all, those concerned with their caloric intake should also have options. And if the others like, we'll share.
Sweet Potato Gratin
Serves 6 to 8.
3 pounds sweet potatoes
6 Tablespoons butter, divided
¼ cup, plus 2 Tablespoons packed light brown sugar, divided
⅔ cup orange juice
2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
⅓ cup all purpose flour
¼ cup old fashioned or quick oats (not instant)
⅓ cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Pierce sweet potatoes in several place with a knife or fork. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until tender, about 1 hour. Alternately, sweet potatoes can be cooked in a microwave.
2. While sweet potatoes are still hot, remove the peel and place potatoes in a large bowl. Beat in 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons brown sugar. Add eggs, orange juice, 1½ teaspoons cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Beat until smooth. Pour mixture into a 1½ quart baking dish. Smooth the top.
3. Topping. Combine flour, oats, remaining ¼ cup sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon in a medium bowl. Cut in the remaining ¼ cup butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle topping evenly over sweet potatoes. At the point, the dish can be covered and refrigerated for up to one day. Let stand at room temperature one hour before baking.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake the gratin for 25 to 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are heated through. For a crisper topping, broil 5 inches from heat source for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown.