This dish has evolved over time. My mother used to make it from scratch, roughly following the Joy of Cooking recipe "Candied Sweet Potatoes", and adding marshmallows for topping. It might have been her mother-in-law's recipe.
I use sweet potatoes much more often than my mother did -- it was a holiday dish in her household. Mostly I buy fresh ones and peel and oven-fry them, like cottage potato fries.
This recipe works better with the canned sweet potatoes in light syrup.
Because the family met at a restaurant on Thursday (long story), we had the home-made turkey feast on the Saturday following. My step-son requested that I bring the sweet potato casserole with marshmallows.
This recipe is fairly infinitely expandable, given the limits of your serving dishes:
Ingredients For every 5 people
- 1 29-ounce can of cut sweet potatoes in light syrup
- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Bottled is fine
- 1/2 tablespoon grated, moist ginger. Fresh is the best but bottled is fine; Japanese pickled ginger (gari) is not. Powdered ginger will not do.
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- about 1/4 bag of tiny marshmallows. Don't use stale ones; they won't puff properly.
- Drain the sweet potatoes, reserving the canning liquid
- Place sweet potatoes in your mixer bowl (best) or a bowl for a hand-held mixer (second best) or a hand whip (most work, least desirable outcome)
- Using a potato masher (best) or spoon (more work) roughly mash the sweet potatoes. When they are lumpy but fairly well mashed:
- Start the mixer. Add the lemon juice, grated ginger and salt.
- Working in 1/4 cup units, beat in the reserved canning liquid until the sweet potatoes are light and fluffy, but not runny. You probably won't use all the canning liquid.
- Taste the mashed sweet potatoes. The dominant note should be sweet and yammy, with a bit of a tang from the lemon juice and a bit of bite from the ginger. Adjust the seasoning by adding more lemon and/or ginger, if you like.
- Transfer the sweet potatoes to a serving dish that can go under the broiler. For a one-can preparation, you will end up with about 3 cups of mashed sweet potatoes. I use a regular loaf pan which will hold about 4 cups. You want the mashed sweet potato layer to be pretty thick (at least an inch) so the marshmallows don't overwhelm. If you don't have a loaf pan, you can use a larger container and line it with heavy-duty aluminum foil, using the foil to create a smaller shape.
- You can make ahead to this point and refrigerate for up to a day.
- To serve: heat the mashed sweet potatoes as you see fit -- if you are using a glass pan, you can microwave them, or put them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes
- Start the broiler.
- Cover the hot mashed sweet potatoes with the mini-marshmallows. The depth of the covering depends on your family's appetite for marshmallows
- Broil the dish, watching constantly. You just want them a little puffy and brown, not all blackened. They'll catch on fire if you aren't careful.
I didn't take pictures this time, but when I make it again for Christmas I'll come back and add the photos.