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Orange Vanilla Glazed Sweet Potatoes with Candied Pecans

Don't let my small casserole dish fool you. For this post, I only made a half recipe, but I have provided the full recipe below. I normally put the full recipe in a 3 qt. casserole dish and layer the potatoes in long overlapping rows.
Servings 8 -10 servings

Ingredients

For the potatoes:

  • 7 medium sweet potatoes about 4 lbs.
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest optional, but wonderful if you want more orange flavor
  • ground cinnamon

For the candied pecans:

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with foil. Set aside.
  2. Wash and dry potatoes. Pierce several times with a fork. Place on foil lined baking sheet and bake for 1-1/4 hours or until done. You want them tender but not mushy. Set aside until cool to the touch.
  3. While potatoes are baking, make the pecans. Line a small baking sheet with foil and spray or grease. Set aside. Cook and stir the pecans, sugar, butter and pinch of salt (or use salted butter and skip the salt) in a small heavy skillet for about 6-8 minutes. Don't walk away from the pan, you need to keep an eye on this step. The sugar will melt and coat the nuts and will look grainy for the first few minutes. Continue stirring until it becomes a golden brown caramel syrup and you just begin to smell the pecans toasting, Do not over cook or you will end up burning them. It can happen quickly, so watch carefully.
  4. Immediately pour the syrupy nut mixture onto prepared foil, spreading the nuts out into one layer. Cool completely; it will become brittle. Then, chop into pieces.
  5. Peel cooked sweet potatoes and slice into 1/2" thick slices. Layer them in a sprayed or buttered 13x9" dish or 3 qt. casserole dish overlapping the slices for a decorative effect. Set aside.
  6. Make the glaze. Combine orange juice, brown sugar, butter, cornstarch and salt in a small sauce pan, stirring well. Bring glaze mixture to a boil and cook for 1 minute or until glaze thickens.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and orange zest. Pour or spoon glaze evenly over the layered potato slices.
  8. Sprinkle top of layered potatoes with cinnamon, then sprinkle with chopped up candied pecans.
  9. Bake, uncovered, for 30-45 minutes until glaze is thick and bubbly and potatoes are fully heated through.

Recipe Notes

*Use regular orange juice or use the juice of fresh oranges after you've zested. Be careful of using mixed fruit flavor orange juices as they are generally sweeter than plain orange juice and may add more sweetness than you desire in this dish.

*Make ahead tips: The dish can be assembled the day before up through pouring the glaze over the potatoes. Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to bake. Add the pecans just before baking. You may need to extend the baking time by 5 or 10 minutes to get the dish fully heated through. You MUST be careful to use a dish that can go from refrigerator to oven without issue or you may end up cracking the dish. If you are worried about this, just get a head start by baking the potatoes the day before, then peeling and slicing them the day you will serve them, continuing with the recipe as written.

Recipe adapted from My Recipes

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