Food & Drink

A sweet potato and pumpkin casserole sure to please everyone

Sweet potato and pumpkin casserole, made by Michelle Madden in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Sweet potato and pumpkin casserole, made by Michelle Madden in Cedar Rapids on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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I love the fall. The crisp cool air, the beauty and wonder of the leaves changing colors and food! With the holidays her, I want to give you an easy, yummy and comforting recipe that will become a holiday tradition for your family like it has become for mine.

This recipe came from years of having dueling pies. My oldest two children love pumpkin, but my youngest two children and the rest of our family prefer sweet potato. I had to come up with a yummy solution that would please everyone.

One year I decided I would save myself some time, anxiety and frustration by combining the two somehow. I didn’t want a pie, so to speak, but I wanted a great dessert that would be sweet, full of flavor and have some type of crunch to it. I noticed the recipes for my sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie were similar, which made it easy to marry the two in what is currently known to my family and now to all of you as Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Casserole.

This casserole has it all — a smooth and creamy texture underneath a crunchy pecan crumble that will wow your pallet. The aroma of pumpkin spice, nutmeg and brown sugar will almost drive you mad with anticipation as it bakes.

No matter if you use canned, fresh or frozen pumpkin and or sweet potato, it will come out amazing. Using real butter and sweetened condensed milk makes a huge difference in flavor.

I think the pecan crumble on top gives this casserole sass and character. Don’t like pecans? Choose another nut such as almond slivers or chopped walnuts. Citrus is another nice way to accent this casserole. Add a little orange zest or orange flavor. Maple is also a great way to enhance the already awesome flavors of sweet potato and pumpkin. I love versatile dishes and this one is in my top five for sure.

It’s not often that a dessert is also a casserole that can be served sweet or savory. This sweet potato and pumpkin can go either way. Make it savory simply by caramelizing red or Vidalia onions, cooking bacon until crisp and chopped and then adding some seasonings such as garlic and Italian to taste and topping your sweet potato and pumpkin casserole with the mixture. As with most of my recipes, this one provides endless possibilities to experiment with.

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Don’t be afraid to get in your culinary lab (kitchen) and turn it into an adventure. Try new things. Be open to flavors that may be foreign to you. Most of all enjoy the experience. Some of the most epic fails brought forth some of the best culinary creations. So, as always, roll up those sleeves, wash your hands and start creating.

SWEET POTATO AND PUMPKIN CASSEROLE

4 pounds sweet potatoes

1 15-ounce can 100 percent pure pumpkin

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

4 tablespoons butter melted

1 large egg beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup light brown sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

3/4 cup chopped pecans

2 tablespoons butter melted

pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a casserole dish and set aside.

Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Place the prepared sweet potatoes in a covered, microwave-safe dish. Microwave the sweet potatoes for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Pause the microwave and stir the potatoes halfway through cooking time. Mash the sweet potatoes with a potato masher.

In a clean bowl, combine the mashed sweet potatoes, pumpkin, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 4 tablespoons of melted butter, beaten egg, vanilla, pumpkin pie spice and salt. Mix well to combine the mixture completely.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining 1/3 cup brown sugar, flour, pecans and pinch of salt. Stir together with a fork. Pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Mix well to combine.

Spread the sweet potato and pumpkin mixture evenly into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the pecan topping evenly over the filling.

Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes.

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We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.