Gourmet Bailey’s Just a Bite: Thanksgiving Edition

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Published November 24, 2021
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The Montclarion
Mini sweet potato casseroles are the perfect grab-and-go, personal sides for your dinner guests. Samantha Bailey | The Montclarion

I was browsing through my old Thanksgiving photos and reminiscing about our past 40-person celebrations while sulking about not being able to see family again this year. Then, something on our table caught my eye. My mom’s sweet potato casserole. The ultimate Thanksgiving side. After all, isn’t the best part about Thanksgiving the sides?

I didn’t want to reproduce her casserole so I decided to put my own twist on it. Each year we always have so much of it leftover, so it’d be smart to make a mini sweet potato casserole for each person to limit waste. The best part is they can be made in advance and heated up again the day of your gathering.

For the mashed sweet potatoes you’ll need:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon of salt
  • 1/4-1/3 cup of milk

For the sweet potato topping you’ll need:

  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1 cup of pecans (I always do extra)

To begin, preheat your oven to 350 F. Rinse your sweet potatoes thoroughly and pat dry. I cooked my sweet potatoes in the microwave to save time, but you can cook them in the oven or boil them as well.

To microwave, pierce your potatoes 10 to 12 times. Wrap the potatoes in a damp paper towel and put them on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high power for two and half minutes and then flip them. Microwave for another two and a half minutes.

Check on your potatoes and try to pierce them with a fork. If they’re still not tender, continue to microwave them in one-minute intervals until tender. Once they’re done, place them to the side to slightly cool.

Cut out circles of pie crust using a cookie cutter. Samantha Bailey | The Montclarion

Cut out circles of pie crust using a cookie cutter.
Samantha Bailey | The Montclarion

While the potatoes cool, prepare the sweet potato casserole crusts. Spray non-stick cooking spray on a cupcake tin. Take a pre-made pie crust that’s been thawed according to the package and cut out holes using a circular cookie cutter.

Press the circle of pie crusts into your cupcake tin. Once you have all your holes cut out, roll your excess pie crust together and repeat those steps until you get 10 mini pie crusts.

The sweet potato mixture will be light and fluffy after adding milk and butter. Samantha Bailey | The Montclarion

The sweet potato mixture will be light and fluffy after adding milk and butter.
Samantha Bailey | The Montclarion

At this point, your sweet potatoes should be cool enough to cut open and mash.

Cut open your sweet potatoes and scoop out the insides into a bowl. Once all the potatoes are emptied into the bowl, take your butter, milk and salt and start mashing them together. I did this by hand with a fork, but you can use a stand or hand mixer to make it easier on yourself.

Set your mashed sweet potatoes to the side as you complete the topping for them. Add your brown sugar, flour and pecans to a bowl. Pour your melted butter on top and stir until everything is evenly coated. It should be a crumbly texture.

Scoop and flatten the sweet potato mixture into your pie crusts. Samantha Bailey | The Montclarion

Scoop and flatten the sweet potato mixture into your pie crusts.
Samantha Bailey | The Montclarion

To assemble your mini casseroles, scoop 2 heaping tablespoons of sweet potato mash into all the pie crusts. Then cover the tops of each mini casserole with the brown sugar mixture. I like to make sure each is fully covered, then go back in and add a bit extra sweet and crunchy toppings to each one.

Once satisfied with the ratio of sweet potatoes to brown sugar, put your mini casseroles to cook in the oven for 22 to 25 minutes. Check on them after 22 minutes and if you like things caramelized, keep the casserole in and turn your oven to broil for up to three minutes.

When your pie crusts are brown and your brown sugar and butter mixture is crunchy, your mini casseroles are done. Let them completely cool in the pan.

To remove, use a knife and slide it around the sides of your pie crusts. Then, tip the pan over and give it a slight shake to loosen your casseroles from the pan. They should drop out one by one.

After a couple of minutes under the broiler, the potatoes will be crispy and sweet. Samantha Bailey | The Montclarion

After a couple of minutes under the broiler, the potatoes will be crispy and sweet.
Samantha Bailey | The Montclarion

The idea for this delicious and fun Thanksgiving side came to me while missing my family. I hope you make this delicious recipe and share it with people you love this holiday. Until the next bite.

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