Maple-Glazed Yams with Pecan Topping

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Sliced, baked sweet potato yam recipe, with maple syrup, brown sugar, and pecans.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

A typical holiday feast around here is a rather colorful affair. Lots of browns, yellows, reds, and greens. And then there is orange. I can’t remember a Thanksgiving without a vibrant dish of garnet yams (a.k.a. sweet potatoes).

Usually we just mash them up with some brown sugar and spices. But a few years ago, we tried out this recipe from Bon Appetit and loved it! We’ve since adjusted the recipe a bit, removing the flour from the topping and replacing it with ground pecans for our gluten-intolerant family members.

Maple Glazed Yams Pecan Topping

I’ve also added a little orange zest to add a little balance to the sweetness of the dish. You could also add a dash of lemon juice for the same purpose.

Smothering yams this way, in brown sugar and maple syrup, almost turns this dish into a dessert—not for everyday perhaps, but just the thing for a holiday treat.

Maple-Glazed Yams with Pecan Topping Recipe

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  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6-8 as a side dish

Put the salted water onto boil while you prep the ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds of yams (red-fleshed sweet potatoes), peeled, cut into 1/4 inch-thick rounds
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 6 Tbsp chilled butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (divided 2 Tbsp and 4 Tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 cups pecans, divided (3/4 cup and 3/4 cup)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed

Method

1 Preheat the oven to 400°F.

2 Cook yams in boiling water: Heat a large pot of salted water (add a tablespoon of salt for every two quarts of water) until boiling. Add the yam rounds. Cook the yams until the water starts to simmer again, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, then rinse in cold water.

3 Layer yam rounds in baking dish, with butter, zest, maple syrup: Butter a baking dish. Arrange the yam rounds in the baking dish, overlapping the pieces, layering the yam rounds to fill up the dish.

Sprinkle each layer liberally with salt. Sprinkle the yam rounds with orange zest if using. Pour maple syrup over yams. Dot with 2 Tbsp of the butter.

4 Bake 20 min: Cover with aluminum foil and bake until yams are almost tender, about 20 minutes.

5 Make pecan topping: While the yams are baking put 3/4 cup pecans in a blender or spice grinder and grind into a coarse meal. Coarsely chop the other 3/4 cup of pecans.

Mix the ground pecans and brown sugar together in a medium bowl. Using your fingers, mix in the remaining 4 Tbsp of butter until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Mix in the chopped pecans.

6 Sprinkle topping over yams, bake 15 min more: Sprinkle the pecan mixture over the yams. Bake the yams, uncovered, until the topping browns, about 15 minutes.

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Showing 4 of 9 Comments

  • Garnella Tomich

    sweet potatoes sliced, layer sliced granny apples. sprinkle with brown sugar on each layer and cubes of butter. bake 350 degrees for 30 to 45 min. marshmellows on top after cooking and stick back in oven under broiler..

  • Noreen Palmer

    I made this recipe at Thanksgiving, and everyone loved it! This is a wonderful variation from the traditional recipes that call for marshmallows and walnuts. I am making it again to add to our Christmas dinner. Thank you for the clear directions also!

  • Claire

    I live in Europe, where maple syrup is hard to come by. We just celebrated Thanksgiving (because we have to work on Thursday), and I used this recipe, substituting honey for the syrup. It was fabulous! I also had to sub walnuts for pecans, but nobody complained. In fact, this was the most popular dish at the party. Thanks a mil for such a great recipe.  

  • Beth

    I made these as a side dish and they came out great. Cutting the yams into rounds helped them hold up to the sweet sauce. I added a splash of orange juice because we didn’t have any fresh oranges to zest. It added a nice hint of brightness to the flavor. This recipe will definitely find its place to our table for Thanksgiving this year.

  • bureaucrat

    Interesting recipe – but is this meant to be a savoury side dish or more of a dessert (am confused with the addition of salt and sugar)?

    It’s considered a savory side dish, but it is also quite sweet. ~Elise

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Maple Glazed Yams Pecan ToppingMaple-Glazed Yams with Pecan Topping