Cooking Classics: Sweet Potato Casserole

The Basics. Cooking Lessons. Sweet Potatoes By Rebecca Gordon Buttermilk Lipstick Southern Hostess TV cooking Personality Editor-In-Chief Southern Cooking Tailgating Entertaining Lifestyle Brand Pastry Chef Author Writer Photographer Editorial Director Food Stylist WBRC Fox 6 Contributor Birmingham AlabamaCooking Classics

From The Garden

Sweet Potato Casserole

Thanksgiving, or in many cases, the Christmas meal isn’t complete unless this classic pecan topped dish graces our bountiful table. Ruth Pilgrim is my grandmother, Nana, for which Buttermilk Lipstick is dedicated. Nana was a vivid story teller & spoke often of the grand parties she would host near the bay in south Alabama. We knew of her friends like they were characters in the movies as she would recount specific details of the clothing they wore, their personality traits & the tales of an unassuming little town. Her spirit in the kitchen, in the garden & around the home serves as the inspiration for many of the ideas you’ll find here. She was a very savvy entertainer, hosting fabulous soirees with limited resources in many cases. She was the type of hostess I strive to reflect whether sharing recipes & cooking techniques on television or having guests in my own home. We are a rare breed taking on all of the event tasks ourselves… Because we enjoy it. It is a lot of work but that is our gift to you. It is just what we do. Menu planning, shopping, cooking, cleaning, creating a beautiful table, flower arrangements, making sure guests feel comfortable during the gathering & yes, cleaning again once the soirée has wrapped are all tasks filled with joy. When we share these gifts with others, the gifts God has blessed us with, we are complete.

Nana lived during a time of wonderful growth & opportunity but through much hardship as well. She survived The Great Depression, two World Wars & the rations that came with them plus countless natural disasters but she always held onto faith. You see. Faith is the solid foundation for which all great things are built. Nana was the magic. She took things into her own hands & rebuilt every time with a grateful heart because God & family is what always remained after each trying encounter. It was her hard work & dedication that always led to a beautiful life. Someone doesn’t give you a beautiful life. You must go out & create it. Having Nana’s Classic Sweet Potato Casserole on the Thanksgiving & Christmas menu is much like having her at the table. Follow my detailed instructions & get ready to start your own holiday traditions.

Classic Sweet Potato Casserole By Rebecca Gordon Buttermilk Lipstick Southern Hostess Cooking Lessons Editor-In-Chief Cooking Tailgating Entertaining Brand Pastry Chef Author Writer Food Stylist Editorial Director Photographer Author Food Stylist Cooking Techniques Tv Cooking Personality Talent Fox 6 Contributor

rebecca gordon buttermilk lipstick Southern Recipes & How To's Easy Tailgate Recipes RebeccaGordon ButtermilkLipstickClassic Sweet Potato Casserole
makes 6 servings

This is a smaller version of the recipe Ruth Pilgrim, my grandmother, used to prepare during the holidays. The recipe easily doubles to feed a larger crowd. Bake in an 11 x 7-inch casserole dish or a 10-inch cast iron skillet until the center is hot.

2 large sweet potatoes {about 2 lbs}
Pecan Streusel
3 Tbsp melted butter
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup whole buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Pierce the sweet potatoes a few times with a fork & place on a foil-lined half sheet pan. Bake for 1 hour & 15 minutes or until soft when pierced with a fork. Let stand 30 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the Pecan Streusel as directed. Chill.

Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees. Whisk together the melted butter, the brown sugar, the buttermilk, the egg & the vanilla in a large bowl. Remove the skins from the potatoes & place in a medium bowl. Mash them just a bit with a fork. You should have approximately 2 1/2 cups of packed sweet potato. Fold the mashed sweet potatoes into the buttermilk mixture & blend well. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 1-quart casserole dish. Generously sprinkle the Pecan Streusel over the top of the casserole. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the center is hot & registers 180 degrees.

Cooking Lessons. How To Make Pecan Streusel By Rebecca Gordon Buttermilk Lipstick Southern Hostess Tv Cooking Personality Editor-In Chief Cooking Tailgating Entertaining Lifestyle Brand Pastry Chef Author Food Stylist Editorial Director Photographer Southern Hostess WBRC Fox 6 Contributor Birmingham Alabama

rebecca gordon buttermilk lipstick Southern Recipes & How To's Easy Tailgate Recipes RebeccaGordon ButtermilkLipstickPecan Streusel
makes about 2 cups

2/3 cup dark brown sugar
6 Tbsp butter, cut into cubes
1/2 cup ap flour
1 cup chopped pecans

Combine the flour & the butter in a medium bowl. Add the brown sugar & combine with a pastry blender until sandy & coarse. Add the pecans & toss through the mixture until coated & crumbly. Use as directed in recipe applications.

Southern Recipes RebeccaGordon ButtermilkLipstickFROM THE KITCHEN OF BUTTERMILK LIPSTICK
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Cooking Classics. Sweet Potato Casserole By Rebecca Gordon Buttermilk Lipstick Southern Hostess Cooking Lessons Editor-In-Chief Southern Cooking Tailgating & Entertaining Brand Pastry Chef Author Writer Food Stylist Photographer Editorial Director Tv cooking Personality WBRC Fox 6 Contributor Birmingham AlabamaHow To Make Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potatoes are prized for their signature sweetness & versatility in recipe applications. Cooked, mashed sweet potatoes can be added to cake batters, muffins, pancakes & a variety of other goodies offering delicious flavor & wholesome nutrients. Select blemish-free potatoes & store in a cool, dry area if you’re not going to use them right away.

Cooking Lessons. How To Make Sweet Potato Casserole By Rebecca Gordon Buttermilk Lipstick Southern Recipes Tv Cooking Personality Editor In Chief Southern Cooking Tailgating & Entertaining Brand Pastry Chef Author Food Stylist Writer Photographer Editorial Director Talent Southern Hostess WBRC Fox 6 Contributor Birmingham Alabama

rebecca gordon buttermilk lipstick Southern Recipes & How To's Easy Tailgate Recipes RebeccaGordon ButtermilkLipstickThe Technique

A mildly sugared potato interior carried by a well-balanced crunchy pecan candy top. In the South, we consider sweet potato casserole a side dish but you may well think otherwise as it holds similar characteristics to a tasty pie brimming with sweet goodies. No matter the classification, it’s absolutely scrumptious. Follow my tips to make your best sweet potato casserole to date.

Classic Sweet Potato Casserole By Rebecca Gordon Buttermilk Lipstick Cooking Lessons Southern Hostess Tv Cooking Personality Editor-In-Chief Southern Cooking Entertaining & Tailgating Brand Pastry Chef Writer Food Stylist Editorial Director Photographer WBRC Fox 6 Birmingham Alabama ContributorNo. 1

The Sweet Potatoes

You may encounter a bin of sweet potatoes at your local market that range in size from 5-oz to 16-oz each. The main takeaway is to choose several vegetables of the same size for even baking in the oven. Use the recipe time as a guide as the true indicator of when they are fully cooked through is how the sweet potatoes gives when lightly pinched with your fingers or if they piece easily with a fork.

The Baking

Baked sweet potatoes are the most simple way to prep a side dish of this nature. Pierce the potatoes several times with a fork & place them onto a foil-lined baking sheet. As they bake, you may notice the sugars breaking down & releasing through the holes. They will bake onto the potato skins & in some cases burn in little spots over the foil. This is normal. Simply avoid it when prepping the recipe.

Classic Sweet Potato Casserole By rebecca gordon buttermilk lipstick cooking lessons southern hostess editor-in-chief southern cooking tailgating entertaining lifestyle brand pastry chef writer tv cooking personality talent editorial director photographer food stylist author writer wbrc fox 6 contributor birmingham alabamaThe  Scooping

Once the potatoes have cooled enough to handle, slice them in half & scoop the pulp with a small spoon. The potato should be relatively soft.

You will notice the caramelization of the sugars on the inside of the bottom portion of the potato skin that baked directly on the sheet pan. This is normal. You can add the darker bits or avoid it– it’s up to you.

Cooking Lessons. How To Make Sweet Potato Casserole. Measuring Sweet Potatoes For Recipe Applications By Rebecca Gordon Buttermilk Lipstick Southern Hostess TV Cooking Personality Editor-In-Chief Southern Cooking Tailgating Entertaining Lifestyle Brand Pastry Chef Author Writer Food Stylist Photographer Editorial Director Talent WBRC Fox 6 Contributor Birmingham AlabamaThe Measuring

Sweet potatoes are sometimes stored for several months before they make the trek to your corner grocery. During this time, the starches are breaking down into sugars. This can effect the yield in recipes– not terribly but when measuring the cooked flesh of an 8-oz sweet potato you may encounter a little more or less at times. You may even pick up on the slight variance of “sweetness” too. The good news about a recipe of this nature is that it’s forgiving. If you bake a mess of potatoes & have an extra 1/2 cup of cooked flesh, by all means toss it in & it will bake up just fine.

Once the potato flesh has been removed from the skin, run a dinner fork through the mixture in a stirring motion several times. The result is “mashed” sweet potato. Pack the mixture tightly in a measuring cup.

Pecan Streusel. Cooking Lessons By Rebecca Gordon Buttermilk Lipstick Southern Recipes & Hostess Tv cooking Personality Editor-In-Chief Southern Tailgating Cooking & Lifestyle Brand Pastry Chef Writer Food Stylist Editorial Director Author Photographer Creative Director WBRC Fox 6 Contributor Birmingham AlabamaNo. 2

The Pecan Streusel 

One of our family’s favorite things about this particular recipe is the Pecan Streusel as it bakes into a buttery candy over the top of the sweet potatoes. The ratio of filling to topping for this particular recipe is approximately 1:1. If you prefer, you can cut the Pecan Streusel mixture in half or double the filling & bake in a larger dish– or just enjoy it as is.

The Blending

Butter, flour, dark brown sugar & pecans combine for a rich crumb topping. Begin the procedure by combining the flour, butter & brown sugar with a pastry blender until coarsely combined. Add the pecans, remove the pastry blender & finish the task by hand. 

Cooking Lessons By Rebecca Gordon Buttermilk Lipstick Pecan Streusel. Southern Hostess Pastry Chef Tv Cooking Personality Editor-In Chief Southern Cooking Tailgating Entertaining Brand Writer Editorial Director Photographer Food Stylist Talent WBRC Fox 6 Contributor Birmingham AlabamaThe Prepared Streusel

When blending the ingredients, be certain to leave several large chunks throughout the mixture. Sift the mixture through your fingers until crumbly in texture. The pecans should be mildly visible within the sugar based mixture but coated nonetheless. Place the bowl in the refrigerator until needed for topping the casserole.

Classic Sweet Potato Casserole. Cooking Lessons By Rebecca Gordon Buttermilk Lipstick Southern Hostess TV Cooking Personality Editor-In-Chief Southern Cooking Entertaining & Tailgating Lifestyle Brand Pastry Chef Author Food Stylist Photographer Editorial Director Writer WBRC Fox 6 Contributor Birmingham AlabamaNo. 3

The Sweet Potato Filling

The Blending

Fold together the mashed sweet potato with the remaining ingredients in a large bowl just until everything is combined using a rubber spatula– that’s the beauty of a simple casserole. The key point to know is that you should not over mix it for the lightest, fluffiest texture. The coloration will change slightly due to the addition of dark brown sugar & vanilla extract.

The Divvy

Portion the filling into a casserole dish. Bakeware can be scarce when getting ready to feed a crowd. Whether you prefer foil pans or ceramic vessels, casseroles lend themselves to settle in just fine into whatever you decide to bake them in. Divide the mixture between 2 smaller casserole dishes if you would like to. Two 8-inch pans or several smaller gratin dishes would be fine. Bake on half sheet pans for easy depositing & retrieval from the oven. Adjust the bake time & temperature. If the depth is smaller cook them for less time. Use the baking temperature & times as your guide.

Cooking Lessons. How To Make Sweet Potato Casserole By Rebecca Gordon Buttermilk Lipstick Southern Hostess Pastry Chef Writer Editor-In-Chief Southern Cooking Tailgating Entertaining Brand TV cooking Personality Editorial Director Food Stylist Photographer Author WBRC Fox 6 Contributor Birmingham AlabamaNo. 4

The Make Ahead Instructions

Nothing quite beats the ease of sliding a casserole, or several, into the oven without a second thought. Preparing casseroles for the freezer makes feeding large crowds easy & makes entertaining effortless leaving your valuable focus on other tasks closer to the gathering. The key to remember when planning meals is that there should be a well balanced menu of ultra fresh recipes to counterpoint a humble casserole as those items may need your attention just before serving. 

The Freezer Method

Prepare the casserole as directed, adding the Pecan Streusel. Do not bake. Cover the casserole dish with plastic wrap. Freeze up to one month. Thaw the casserole in the refrigerator over night. Let stand 30 minutes on the counter top before baking as directed.

The Refrigerator Method

Prepare the casserole as directed, adding the Pecan Streusel. Do not bake. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate up to two days ahead of time. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator. Let stand on the countertop for 30 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap. Bake the casserole as directed until crisp on the top & heated through. Use the time as a guide, adding 5 to 10 minutes of bake time, if necessary.

Classic Sweet Potato Casserole By Rebecca Gordon Buttermilk Lipstick Southern Hostess Cooking Lessons Editor-In-Chief Southern Cooking Entertaining & Tailgating Brand Pastry Chef Tv Cooking Personality Writer Food Stylist Photographer Editorial Director Southern Hostess Author WBRC Fox 6 Contributor Birmingham AlabamaNo. 5

The Baking

Use baking times in recipes as guides. Our oven models are different so it may be ready for you on the low end of the range. Take into consideration other items that may need to be baked or warmed durning meal prep. It may take a touch longer to bake if other items are in the oven as well.  Casserole dish surface area will affect the bake time as well. If the vessel has higher sides or conversely a greater overall surface area, adjust accordingly.

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About Rebecca Gordon

* Southern Born * Southern Bred * Tailgate Queen * Southern College Football Fanatic * SEC Tailgate Strategist * Southern Recipe Writer & Sometimes Novelist * Half-Hour Hostess * Media Personality * Houndstooth Hound Owner * Small Town Dreamer * Big Idea Doer * 3rd Generation Pimiento Cheese Fixer * Casserole Maker * Budweiser Drinker * Bourbon Cocktail Sipper * Peanut Butter Love Affair * Cookie Monster * Calorie Burner * Retainer of Useless Pop Culture One Liners * Terrible Dancer * Even Worse Singer but doesn't care * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Rebecca Gordon shares over 20 years of cooking knowledge in the instructional filled original editorial content on Buttermilk Lipstick as well as the cooking class format videos that can be found on her YouTube channel through regular collaboration with numerous media outlets. Gordon draws from an extensive background in corporate publishing spanning over 13 years on both the business and editorial side focusing on women’s southern lifestyle. She is a classically trained pastry chef and draws from fine dining restaurant experience from a James Beard award winning chef as well as her southern roots upbringing to share cooking, entertaining & style content relevant to today’s modern woman.

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