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Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Crumble Topping

This is one of the most emotional dishes you will find on this site as it's my mother's Thanksgiving sweet potato casserole. It has everything you want and more in its ultra creamy middle and sweet topping. It's decadent and delicious but, most importantly, it will be an instant family classic.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: sweet potato, caserole, thanksgiving, pecan, marshmallows

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsps unsalted butter, melted, plus more for baking dish
  • 3 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • zest of one orange

Toppings:

  • 1 cup pecans, chopped or smashed into bits
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsps unsalted butter, melted

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400. Bake the sweet potatoes for 40-45 minutes or until soft. Allow to cool and remove skin.
  • Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 2-quart baking dish.
  • In a food processor, add 2 1/2 of the sweet potatoes leaving 1/2 to the side. Add the butter, milk, brown sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, salt, and eggs and process until smooth. Hand mash the remaing 1/2 of sweet potato and mix in along with the zest. (This gives the smooth mix a few lumps of texture.)
  • Transfer mixture to the prepared baking dish.
  • In a medium size mixing bowl, combine pecans, flour, brown sugar, and salt. Pour the butter over top and stir until the entire mixture is moist and clumps together.
  • Sprinkle topping over top of sweet potato and bake for 25 - 30 minutes, or until sweet potato is set in the center and topping intensifies in color. Serve.

Notes

You can make this recipe in advance and definitely should because it's still perfect. 
Bake your sweet potatoes in advance. Put your casserole together but don't top with the pecan crumble and then refrigerate or  freeze. 
Mix your crumble in advance in a plastic storage bag but don't add the butter. Add the butter, mix and add to the casserole when you're ready to bake
If your baking from the refrigerator, add the crumble and then bake.
If you're baking from frozen, double the baking time. Add the crumble to the top half way through the baking process.