You know that sweet potato casserole you make every year for Thanksgiving? The super sugary one topped with mini marshmallows? I get that it’s tradition and all that, but I have a better idea.
It starts with roasted sweet potatoes whipped with nutmeg, fresh lemon juice and lemon zest, plus cream and egg yolks for a little extra holiday indulgence.
Don’t toss those egg whites, because we’re going to whirl them into a fluffy meringue to pile over everything.
Did I mention that you could do most of the preparation a few days in advance? I roasted my potatoes on Wednesday night, prepared the filling on Thursday, and made the meringue and baked the final dish on Friday afternoon.
I love this recipe so much. I wish I could take all the credit, but it’s 100% Rick Rodgers. His cookbook, The Big Book of Sides: More than 450 Recipes for the Best Vegetables, Grains, Salads, Breads, Sauces, and More, is one of my all time favorites. This isn’t a sponsored post! I bought the book last year and I honestly cook from it all the time. That’s why I was so excited when Rick agreed to let me excerpt three recipes this week in preparation for Thanksgiving.
I mean, it’s really all about the sides, right?
Rick says the turkey will get jealous if you serve these lemon meringue sweet potatoes at Thanksgiving, and I agree wholeheartedly. I’d never think to pair sweet potatoes with lemon, but the flavor combination is nothing short of sheer genius.
The potatoes are creamy and rich, but also bright and fresh tasting. The meringue topping is crisp and feather-light, and the entire dish is decidedly sweet, yet it doesn’t cross over into dessert territory.
Because we’d never want to step on the pie’s toes 🙂
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the baking dish
- 4 large orange-fleshed sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds), scrubbed and pierced all over with a fork
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 4 large egg yolks (reserve the whites for the meringue)
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- To make the purée: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400ºF. Lightly butter a 9-inch glass pie plate (or a 9-inch ceramic quiche dish).
- Put the potatoes on a large baking sheet and roast until they are tender when pierced with a knife, about 50 minutes. Let them cool until easy to handle, about 15 minutes. (I roasted my potatoes a day in advance, then wrapped them in foil and stored them in the fridge until the next day.)
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350ºF (or preheat, if you've roasted the potatoes in advance).
- Peel the sweet potatoes and put the flesh in a medium bowl. Add the cream, brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of butter, lemon zest and juice, and nutmeg. Using a handheld electric mixer on medium speed, beat the mixture until smooth. Beat in the egg yolks. Spread the purée in the baking dish.
- Bake the purée until it is set and barely beginning to brown, about 30 minutes. (At this point the dish can be cooled, covered with foil, and refrigerated for up to 1 day. Reheat, covered, in a preheated 350ºF oven until heated through, about 20 minutes. Uncover the purée.)
- To make the meringue: Using the mixer with clean beaters, beat the egg whites in a medium bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar until the mixture forms stiff, shiny peaks. Using a spoon, spread and swirl the meringue over the purée.
- Bake until the meringue is touched with golden-brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.
- This dish is easiest to make with a handheld electric mixer. Stand mixers are great, but they are too large for some jobs. The amount of egg whites for the meringue in this recipe is too small to beat efficiently in a stand mixer.