Heather’s Big Mama was a spitfire. She was all of 5 feet tall and was filled all the things a classic Southern grandmother (or great-grandmother, in this case) is supposed to be filled with – and some extra stuff, too. After Big Daddy died, she lived alone until the ripe old age of 95. She was a master fisherman and skilled squirrel hunter. The woman could can anything, grow anything, and cook anything. It’s been rumored that the meringue on her banana pudding was the highest in 3 counties.
I was fortunate enough to know her and Jack was lucky enough to meet his great, great grandmother before she died. That in itself is something most folks never get to do. Her house was always warm and comfortable and an afghan was always close enough to grab if you got a chill. She loved her flowers and the bright colors of bandanas – or lantana as the rest of the world knows it. She was precious. Absolutely precious. And was the glue that held the family together. And we miss her.
But one of the amazing things that food can do is keep us connected to folks like our sweet Big Mama when we keep their recipes on our tables. This recipe for Sweet Potato Pudding is one of the many amazing dishes that she made and one that I’m now fortunate enough to be able to share with y’all.
It’s a lot like sweet potato casserole, but she called it pudding, so that’s what we’re calling it. Her recipe didn’t call for the marshmallows on top, but I think the combination is a match made in heaven, so I added them. Feel free to be authentic and leave them off if you wish. Y’all enjoy.
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes
- ¾ cup sugar
- 1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk
- 3 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into 1-inch (or thereabouts) cubes. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Heat to boiling and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. Drain the potatoes, allow to cool slightly, and mash well.
- Preheat the oven to 350° and lightly spray a 2-quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, mix the mashed sweet potatoes with the sugar, milk, eggs, and vanilla extract until well combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared dish and bake for about 45 minutes or until slightly set.