Pioneer Woman's Sweet Potatoes

And the Pioneer Woman's back with one of her patented visual recipes--this time for sweet potatoes so rich and decadent that they're almost dessert. --The Serious Eats Team

OK, so they're my mom's sweet potatoes. And OK, they weren't even hers to begin with; she picked up the recipe in New Orleans more than 30 years ago when she was pregnant with me or my brother or someone in my family, I'm not sure who. I don't remember those days very clearly.

Known originally as "Soul Sweet Taters," this dish is so deliciously divine, my sibs and I would gobble up the entire pan every Thanksgiving and meet our annual beta carotene requirements in one sitting. And really, folks, when you look at the list of ingredients in this dish, you're going to laugh at me. No, really. You're going to laugh and ridicule and mock and criticize and laugh again. Because while I'm passing this off as a Thanksgiving side dish, it's every bit as decadent as a dessert. Still, I think it needs to stay on the plate with the turkey, dressing, and mashed potatoes, as you wouldn't want to do anything to upstage Aunt Bessie's pecan pie. That would be really rude.

Let's get started, shall we?

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Here's what you'll need: Sweet Potatoes, Milk, Sugar, Vanilla, Eggs, Salt, Butter, Pecans, Flour, and Brown Sugar. How bad can THIS be?

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First, wash 4 medium sweet potatoes and throw them in a 375 degree oven until fork tender, about 30-35 minutes.

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Then slice them open...

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And scrape out the yummy orange flesh. If you stopped right there, the dish would be super healthy. Problem is, we're not going to stop. We're going to keep going and going. So add 1 cup of sugar and get it over with.

Now add 1 cup of milk, 2 eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla...

And 1 teaspoon of salt.

Now, find that potato masher you just used to make my very low-calorie, nonfat mashed potatoes, and give 'em a quick mash.

Don't go nuts or anything; it's best if they aren't perfectly smooth.

Now, in a separate bowl, add 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup pecans, chopped (that means measure a cup of pecans, then chop them), 1/2 cup flour, and 3/4 stick of...you guessed it...BUTTER. I don't leave home without it.

With a pastry cutter or fork, mash together until thoroughly combined.

Now, spread the sweet potato mixture in a regular baking dish...

Then sprinkle the crumb mixture all over the top. Now bake at 400 for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

And this is what you'll have! The yummy thing is, the topping is light and crumbly on the very top, but underneath, right next to the sweet potatoes, it's buttery and caramelized.

Now, find the most enormous serving spoon you can...

And dish yourself up a huge helping. You've earned it.

See the dry topping atop the melted/caramelized topping atop the creamy, dreamy sweet potatoes? (I love saying "atop." It makes me feel like Martha. Sigh. I love that woman.)

And I LOVE these sweet potatoes. And you will, too. I promise.

Happy Thanksgiving, Serious Eaters!

Ree, aka The Pioneer Woman, is a former city girl who met and married a hunky cattle rancher, moved to his ranch in the middle of nowhere, and spent the next decade figuring out how to cook for men who think the sun rises and sets in a steak and baked potato.

Pioneer Woman's Sweet Potatoes

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