Ginny Brehmers Sweet Potato Casserole

Ginny Brehmers Sweet Potato Casserole
Ginny Brehmers Sweet Potato Casserole
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Jim and I lived in Pennsylvania for a few years and it didn’t take me long to make friends with Ginny Brehmer, a fellow Mainer. Ginny was from Machias—a true Down Easter—and was a fabulous cook. She shared this delicious sweet potato casserole with me and I have made it every Thanksgiving since.

Serves8 to 10

Cooking Methodbaking



Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Kid FriendlyYes

OccasionBuffet, Family Get-together

Recipe Courseside dish, vegetable

Dietary Considerationpeanut free, soy free, vegetarian

Equipmentbaking/gratin dish, food processor



Taste and Texturebuttery, nutty, sweet

Type of Dishcasserole, vegetable


  • 2½ pounds sweet potatoes
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted if potatoes are not hot
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup pecans
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) cold unsalted butter


  1. Butter a 9 by 13-inch baking dish or other similar shallow baking dish.

  2. Scrub the potatoes, cut in 2- to 3-inch chunks, and boil in salted water until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and when cool enough to handle, peel. Mash with a potato masher (you should have about 4 cups) and beat in the butter, sugar, milk, eggs, salt, and vanilla. Spread into the prepared dish.

  3. In a food processor, pulse the pecans until chopped medium fine; remove. Add the brown sugar and flour to the workbowl and process to remove large lumps. Cut the butter into chunks, add to the workbowl, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the pecans and pulse once or twice just to combine. (Or you can make this topping by hand.) Sprinkle over the sweet potatoes. (The casserole can be made several hours ahead and refrigerated. Return to room temperature before baking.)

  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the casserole until heated through and the topping is golden, 30 to 45 minutes.


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But its covered in sugar, how can this be a dinner dish? Surely it should be a desert? Sorry for my ignorance, we dont eat this sort of thing for dinner in Europe

This is sweet potato pie without the crust. Much too sweet for a dinner casserole.

I have a number of people over for Thanksgiving every year. Every year I try a new sweet potato recipe. Last Thanksgiving I made this recipe and every single person at the table told me not to change any more, this is the one they will look forward to next year. It is a bit sweeter than some, but it contrasts wonderfully with the tartness of my cranberry sauce.

Way too sweet in my opinion.


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