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Nana's Yams & Apples

Nana's enamel casserole dish
Nana’s Yams & Apples
Nana brings this to dinner every Thanksgiving.  She’s 92 years old (2000). She always uses bright orange sweet potatoes, not yams, but I can't bring myself to change the name. I make it every Thanksgiving when we’re living away from home (and Nana) for the holidays. Sometimes I bake it the day before and reheat it the next day for Thanksgiving so that the flavors have had a chance to meld. 

It helps to buy yams that are all similar in size and width. I look for yams that are shaped like a cylinder (about 2-½  inches in diameter, rather than the ones in the shape of a huge football. 

[Update 2010: sweet Nana passed away when she was nearly ninety-nine. Guess which enamel casserole dish we use for yams and apples every year. Nana's.]

6 medium, narrow Garnet sweet potatoes, (about 3 lb total)
6 apples, peeled and sliced (half crisp & half baking apples)
1 C sugar
3 TBL cornstarch
2 tsp salt
2 C hot water
½ C butter (1 cube)
Juice of half lemon (2 TBL)
½ C marshmallows (optional)

  1. Fill a large pot halfway with water, cover and bring to the boil.  Add whole, unpeeled sweet potatoes to water, making sure they are covered by boiling water.  Bring back to the boil.  Boil for 35-40 minutes until very tender—insert point of a sharp knife to check for doneness.  Knife should not meet any resistance. 
  2. Drain and peel when cool enough to handle. (You can cook them up to half a day before making the sauce; just wait to peel them until you assemble the casserole).
  3. In medium saucepan add sugar, cornstarch and salt.  Stir to mix.  Add hot water and lemon juice.  Put saucepan over medium high heat.  Stirring constantly, bring to the boil.  Lower heat and stir for 1 more minute.  Turn off heat.  Add butter and stir until melted.  Remove from heat.
  4. Alternate layers of yams and apples in casserole dish. Pour sauce carefully over entire top, making sure the sauce covers every apple and yam slice on top. Do not overfill with sauce.
  5. Put a baking sheet in the oven on the lowest rack to catch any drips, just in case.
  6. Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes on middle rack of oven.  Can top with marshmallows during last 5 minutes of baking.
  7. Let rest for 20 minutes before serving. We like it baked the day before Thanksgiving, cooled, refrigerated, then reheated just before Thanksgiving dinner.


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