Sunday, October 9, 2011

Recipe: Nell's Sweet Potato Souffle'

Ingredients: 40 oz. can of sweet potatoes, drained; 1 1/2 sticks butter or margarine; 1 cup sugar; 1 cup whipping cream; 2 cups miniature marshmallows; 2 eggs; 1/2 cup brown sugar; 1 cup crushed cornflakes, 1/2 cup pecans.

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 3/4 stick butter and marshmallows on low heat. Beat potatoes, sugar and eggs with electric mixer. Add the whipping cream, beating thoroughly, then add the marshmallow mixture until well mixed. Pour into ovenproof dish. For topping: Melt 3/4 cup margarine and brown sugar. Add cornflakes and pecans, stir until evenly coated. Spread over potato mixture. Bake 30-35 minutes.

Before you know it, Thanksgiving will be upon us. I will be posting a few autumn/Thanksgiving recipes that you may want to include at your next family gathering.

This recipe for sweet potato souffle is courtesy (and shared with permission from) my grandmother, Nell Braxton. While I love her more than anything, I have to admit that my grandmother isn't, as most people claim of their own grandmothers, the world's best cook. However, she has about half a dozen recipes that are simply awesome, and this souffle' is a big favorite of mine. It's a little labor intensive with all the heating various things on the stove, but it's worth the effort.

The reason this recipe is called a souffle' as opposed to the typical casserole is its texture. The whipping cream makes it creamy, almost light, and the melted marshmallows and butter give it a fluffy quality. Lots of people make sweet potato casseroles with marshmallows on the top. If you'd like, you may also add some marshmallows to the topping, but be prepared for an extremely sweet dish verging into the dessert category. My grandmother's recipe has just the right amount of sweetness, along with a satisfying crunch of cornflakes on top.

Sweet potato souffle' keeps for about a week, but it is best enjoyed within an hour of removal from the oven. Why? Because the cornflakes are crisp and the pecans are fragrant at that point. Once you refrigerate the souffle' and microwave it, you'll have mushy cornflakes and reheated, tired nuts.

For those of you who want a more home-made treat, you may substitute fresh sweet potatoes for the canned ones. My friend Danielle's wonderful mom Alice recently gave us a bag of just-dug-up-on-the-farm sweet potatoes from south Georgia, which inspired me to make the souffle' last night. If you use fresh sweet potatoes, peel then boil them for about 20 minutes, until they are soft. If they are too hard, you'll have chunky potatoes that won't properly blend into a luscious souffle' consistency.

This recipe makes approximately 10 side dishes. When Kyle and I made it last night, we used 7 medium sized sweet potatoes, which made enough for about 8 side dishes.

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