From America's Test Kitchen Season 6: Let's Talk Turkey
Sweet potato casserole is often claimed as a must-have at the Thanksgiving table. Kids love this sweet, sticky dish, but adults long for a side dish with more restrained sweetness, rather than one that could double as dessert. We set out to develop a sweet potato casserole with a bit of a savory accent to please everyone.
For the best texture and flavor, we steamed the sweet potatoes on the stovetop with a little water, butter, and brown sugar. We kept the other flavorings simple—just salt and pepper. In the topping, we used whole pecans instead of chopped; this gave the casserole a better texture and appearance. And a little cayenne and cumin lent a hit of spice to the topping that offset the sweetness of the potato.
Serves 10 to 12
For a more intense molasses flavor, use dark brown sugar in place of light brown sugar. To make ahead, follow the recipe through step 2. Refrigerate the sweet-potato mixture in a large microwave-safe bowl, tightly wrapped with plastic wrap, for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, poke several vent holes in the plastic wrap covering the potatoes and microwave on medium-high power until hot, 3 to 5 minutes. Continue to assemble and bake the casserole as directed in steps 3 and 4.