I can guess what you’re thinking… “Sweet potatoes? Really? But the holidays are over. Families have already had their fill of marshmallow-smothered yams settled next to green bean casserole and turkey on an overcrowded plate. It’s January. Let’s move on.”
I know, I know. I battled those same thought demons. But then I realized I don’t give a flying marshmallow which holiday “owns” this. The ingredients were on hand, and the craving was in abundance, so… *shrugs shoulders*.
With that, let’s talk about this sweet potato pecan crumble. It had been on my blog agenda in the months coming up to Thanksgving and Christmas, but it got pushed to the backburner (pun!) week after week. By the time Christmas came and went and our stomachs were finally recovered from the overabundance of rich food, these sweet potatoes peeped at me from the bottom of the pantry, begging to be the dessert du jour.
These resemble the holiday favorite, but I think they’re a level or two above in flavor thanks to the pecan crumble, which I don’t see in abundance during those months that end in “r”. I never cared for simple sweet potatoes with a little bit of sugar and cinnamon, topped with marshmallows. The texture was too squishy and monotonous, leaving my palate bored and unamused.
BUT. Add a crunchy and sweet pecan crumble, inundating every bite with a sugary, nutty crunch, sandwiched between the aforementioned flavors of sweet potato and mallow… Yes. Yes that’ll do nicely.
If I had self-restraint, I might have stopped at the crumble and left well enough alone. But no. That unused bag of baby marshmallows was crying out for attention just like the sweet potatoes, so I gave it a home on top of the crumble, roasted to sugary and caramelized perfection.
Serve this in a cute cast iron skillet (one that hasn’t been seasoned with too many savory flavors) for ease and a delightful rustic presentation. We have a little Lodge brand one (about 8″ or so) that doubles as a lid for a cast iron pot, so it works perfectly. It could also be cooked in a regular baking dish or small casserole dish. Whatever your heart desires.
We also topped ours off with a bit of ice cream, because we can’t leave well enough alone. Our ice cream of choice was Adams Vanilla Pecan Pie, although it is only available at HEB grocery stores in Texas. If you can’t find it, a buttered pecan flavor would be juuuuuust right. We’re already breaking seasonal rules with this. Might as well break the dietary ones, too.
- 3 large sweet potatoes (about 4 cups, once baked)
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- For the Topping:
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1½ cup pecans, chopped and lightly toasted
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- 1½ cup marshmallows
- Butter pecan ice cream (optional)
- Wash the potatoes and pierce them all over a few times with a sharp knife. Bake in an oven heated at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour, or until tender and easily cut with a knife (this may take longer, depending on how thick the potatoes are). They are finished when soft and mushy all the way to the center.
- Once the potatoes have cooled enough for you to handle them, cut in half and scoop out the flesh. Place in a mixing bowl with the brown sugar, vanilla, butter, and cinnamon. Beat well until thoroughly combined and fluffy (either in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or simply a bowl with a spatula or large spoon).
- To make the pecan crumble, mix together the brown sugar, toasted pecans, softened butter, and flour with your hands until well combined. Spread the sweet potato mixture into a cast iron skillet or baking dish evenly. Top with the pecan crumble, then the marshmallows.
- Bake for 10 minutes in an oven heated at 350 degrees Fahrenheit on the middle rack. Place on the top rack for a final 5 minutes to toast the marshmallows. Serve warm on its own, or with a scoop of ice cream.