Sweet Potato Apple Pie Casserole

 

swt pot mid oct sm

This was our mid-October sweet potato patch – just before we dug the tubers. The vines were bug bitten and looking a bit shabby. They were obviously at the end of their growth cycle. Our nighttime temperatures had been dropping and I began to worry about frost. If frost hits sweet potato vines the potatoes might be damaged. It had also been raining and the garden soil was wet. Actually the soil in the sweet potato bed was not simply wet – it had turned to shoe sticking mud. We managed to harvest 18.4 pounds of sweets out of that mud. What does one do with 18+ pounds of sweets? I usually cure my just dug sweet potatoes in a warm, room – 85° – using a small space heater for about 10 days. Then I wrap them individually in newspaper, and stack them in a basket in the basement. This year is an exception. The potatoes were hard to get out of the ground because of the mud and many of them were stuck by the digging fork or nicked when they were pulled from the mud. I know that only perfect sweet potatoes will store well long term, and our sweet potatoes were definitely not perfect. I decided to can them.

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I followed the directions for canning sweet potatoes I found in the Cooperative Extension University of Georgia’s book So Easy To Preserve. I washed the potatoes and cut them into chunks. I heated the chunks in a pot of water until they were cooked partway through and peeled them. I heated the peeled chunks in unsweetened apple juice, packed them into wide mouth quart jars, and covered them with boiling apple juice. I left a 1 inch head space. FYI: headspace is the space between the bottom of the inner lid and the top of the liquid in the jar. The jars were processed for 90 minutes at 10 pounds pressure in a pressure canner.

A longtime family favorite, this Sweet Potato Apple Pie Casserole is on every Thanksgiving and Christmas table. For Christmas 1999 my sister collected family recipes and put together a “Scrapbook” of family recipes. She wrote that our brother Frank “found this recipe on the label of an obscure brand of sweet potatoes. It has been slightly altered and family tested for several years. Prior to this recipe no one cared to eat sweet potatoes except my father. …… now we usually end up with very little leftover.” The original recipe was called Saucy Yam Casserole – I have renamed it because we are talking about sweet potatoes NOT yams.

Sweet Potato Apple Pie Casserole

40 oz. can of cut sweet potatoes, drained – I use 1 quart of home canned sweet potatoes – see above!
21 oz. can of Apple Pie Filling – I either buy a can of plain apple pie filling or use a 1 quart of home canned apple pie filling
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
3 Tablespoons butter – divided in half and cut into small cubes
1/4 cup light brown sugar – I use either light or dark
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, I use freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or cashews – optional but recommended

Preheat oven to 375°. Drain the potatoes and cut them into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange half of the potatoes in a greased 3 quart casserole. Spoon half the pie filling over the potatoes. Sprinkle half the lemon juice over the apples and top with half the cubed butter. In a small bowl mix the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, and nuts – if using. Sprinkle half the brown sugar mixture over the mixture in the casserole. Repeat the layers, ending with the brown sugar topping. Bake covered for 30 minutes: uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes or more, until hot and bubbly and slightly brown. Serve warm.

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Yes! I did eat that dish of Sweet Potato Apple Pie Casserole. It was warm, sweet, and delicious. If you have sweet potato doubters in your family tempt them with this casserole – you just might win them over.

Hey from the farm,
Fran The Country Cousin

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