Whip It!

by Sarah on November 29, 2010 · 7 comments

I realize I didn’t talk very much about Thanksgiving. My favorite holiday, and I hardly made a fuss. What gives?

Well, it’s true. Thanksgiving IS my favorite holiday. I don’t think it always has been, as I’m pretty sure the excitement of presents on Christmas made my year when I was younger, but over the past few (or many) years, Thanksgiving has moved up to take the reign of highest of holidays in my heart.

And not for the reason you think. Although I am a foodie [wouldn't have this blog otherwise ;) ], for me, the reason Thanksgiving is so special is that you spend it with your family. There is no personal pressure of gift-giving or the cultural/societal pressure of build-up that surrounds Christmas, and it simply becomes a time to celebrate being together, relaxing, and enjoying doing nothing at all (or maybe just playing a few board games) with the people you love.

Not that the food isn’t yummy.

This year, I was without my family, so it really didn’t feel like Thanksgiving. I had two Thanksgiving dinners (three if you count the “leftover party” the following day…), and met a lot of new people while also spending time with close friends. But Thanksgiving without family? That doesn’t really mean Thanksgiving to me.

What DOES mean Thanksgiving? This:Sweet Potato Casserole. Specifically, Bertha‘s Sweet Potato Casserole.It is, and has always been, my favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal. It is the only thing I really care about eating the next day, and the first thing I want seconds of during the actual meal. I love it so much that the first year I spent Thanksgiving with my dad and (then brand new) stepmother, and I found out we weren’t having sweet potatoes, I called my mom in North Carolina, nearly crying and had to be put on the phone with Bertha, who walked me through the recipe and method for preparing her famous casserole. I was the only one who ate any of it, but it made Thanksgiving Thanksgiving for me.You might notice that there are no marshmallows on this casserole. Streusel all the way….where did you think my loyalty to sugared pecans came from? It’s been ingrained in me from an early age. Hence my strong aversion to those of the marshmallow families. :)

Since The Smart Kitchen might sometimes be considered The Sweet Potato Kitchen, based on the amount of times I reference my love for the naturally sugary spud or use them in recipes, I decided it was time to reveal where the origin of this obsession arose. And it all starts with these beauties:

[Excuse the random skin missing. I couldn't resist a bite.]

As a side note, I’ll have you know that I roasted all those bad boys around 10PM the Wednesday before Thanksgiving while watching Harry Potter: The Order of the Pheonix. I put them in the fridge overnight, and the next morning, as one of my roommate’s was packing to go home, she said, “Oh, those sweet potatoes looked good last night. Would you believe I’ve never had one?”

Time stopped. I literally froze.

And then I immediately turned the oven to 400 degrees and threw a sweet potato in there, saying, “You can’t leave until you’ve had one.* And your first one should be warm.”

*She didn’t leave. She couldn’t. I barricaded the door.

Although while she was waiting, I did make her a Sweet Potato S’more.

Then began my construction of the ultimate Thanksgiving side dish.I popped my roasted, peeled sweet potatoes into a mixing bowl, already diverging from Bertha’s original recipe.Seriously, y’all, you thought I was actually going to give away the family’s secret recipe? Never!

But I will give you the new one I made up, which actually is healthier for you than the original, and, dare I say it, just as delicious?

Since I’m not giving you Bertha’s recipe, I will at least give you this tip. Use a regular old electric mixer to whip your sweet potatoes…

Whip it! Whip it good!

[Thank you, Devo.] [Source]

…and after a few minutes, pull the beaters out and let them run (make sure to catch any remnants with your hand). When you turn off the mixer…

…and little fibrous strings will be left on the beaters.You simply rinse them off, and then keep beating. [Everyone will be happy. Including the bowl of potatoes. They will smile back at you.]

This is Bertha’s foolproof way to obtain smooth, whipped sweets.Which, I would like to say, are just delicious on their own. You can stop here and be perfectly content with your whipped roasted sweet potatoes, no butter, no sugar, no spice required.

(Although making them into a mountain is kind of fun.)

But since this is Thanksgiving, we’re going to go ahead and keep cooking. (I did save half of those whipped sweets just to eat later one.) We’ve also got a little more whippin’ to do. This time? Egg whites.

Clean the beaters, crack three eggs, and whip the whites in a metal bowl until they are frothy and somewhat solidified. Then, add them to about 3 1/2 cups of whipped sweet potatoes.
This is called folding, although you don’t have to go through the annoying process of putting clothes away when you are finished.
It might take a minute or two, but eventually everything will smooooooth out.
Stir in a teaspoon or so of vanilla extract, and also maple extract if you have it. I imagine you could substitute some maple syrup, or just leave it out altogether.
Put the sweets into an 8″ x 8″ pan, or whatever casserole dish you want to use.
Try not to eat them right then and there. Reminding yourself of the fact that there are raw egg whites in there now is a good preventative tactic.
In a small bowl, make the streusel topping: about 5 Tbsp. brown sugar, 3 Tbsp. flour, a generous sprinkling of pumpkin pie spice, and 2-3 Tbsp. melted butter.
Sprinkle the streusel all over the top of the casserole/souffle and bake for about 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees. [You'll know it's finished when the top is toasty and the sweets are warm in the middle.
And yes, to test if they were warm in the middle I just stuck my finger in it. [I was planning on eating all of these myself, so I didn't worry about anyone feeling weird about this.]
Oh my goll, y’all. These are one of my favorite foods of all time, right up there with ice cream and pimiento cheese.

And yes, this does make a great breakfast. Trust me. I know.
————————-
The Smart Kitchen‘s Sweet Potato Souffle
(adapted from Bertha’s Famous Sweet Potatoes)

3 1/2 cups whipped sweet potatoes
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. maple extract (or 1 Tbsp. maple syrup)
1/2 tsp. salt
3 egg whites, whipped until foamy and relatively stiff

5 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
pumpkin pie spice
1/4 cup chopped pecans
2-3 Tbsp. melted butter

1. In a large mixing bowl, combine first four ingredients (sweet potatoes through egg whites).
2. Spread sweet potato mixture evenly in casserole dish of your choosing.
3. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, pumpkin pie spice, and pecans. Pour melted butter into the bowl and stir well.
4. Sprinkle streusel evenly on top of potatoes.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, until the top is toasted and the middle is warm.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda (Eating Up) November 29, 2010 at 4:27 pm

Haha there's a face in your food! I love it.

And I'm with you about Thanksgiving becoming your favorite holiday. Although, I have to say that Thanksgiving is extra great because once it's over, you still have something to look forward to celebrating…Christmas! ;-)

Reply

Lindsay and James Cotter November 29, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I wish we could thanksgiving again this week just so I could make this casserole. I love it too!

Reply

Lindsay and James Cotter November 29, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I wish we could thanksgiving again this week just so I could make this casserole. I love it too!

Reply

Lindsay and James Cotter November 29, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I wish we could thanksgiving again this week just so I could make this casserole. I love it too!

Reply

Lindsay and James Cotter November 29, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I wish we could thanksgiving again this week just so I could make this casserole. I love it too!

Reply

Mary @ Bites and Bliss November 29, 2010 at 9:13 pm

In.credible. Oh my gosh..you may have to re-introduce this recipe next year before Thanksgiving because it's PERFECT!! Heck, I'll just bookmark it now :P

Love the smiley in the bowl!! hahaha

Reply

Wendy November 10, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I love this!! I too have a love of sweet potatoes, especially roasted then topped with home made cinnamon butter (shook up in a baby food jar, holla).

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