1 Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 2-quart baking dish and set aside.
2 Cook the sweet potatoes: Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 2-inch chunks. Place the chunks in a large pot and fill it with enough water to cover the potatoes. Bring everything to boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, or until the sweet potato chunks can be easily pierced with a fork. Drain the sweet potatoes and let them cool for 5 minutes.
2 Working in batches, transfer sweet potatoes to a food processor and blend to make a smooth puree. Makes about 4 cups of puree. (At this point, the puree can be refrigerated for several days until you’re ready to make the casserole.)
3 Make the sweet potato filling: Scoop all of the sweet potato puree into a bowl. Mix in the milk, maple syrup, egg, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, salt, and orange zest. Pour the sweet potato puree into the prepared baking dish and spread to an even layer.
4 Make the crumble topping: In a separate bowl, mix the pecans, flour, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon together for the crumble topping. It should form large floury clumps. Sprinkle crumble over the sweet potatoes.
5 Bake the casserole for 30 to 35 minutes, until the topping is a nice golden brown. Let the casserole cool for 10 minutes before serving.
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