In South Louisiana, every weekend throughout the year, we have festivals that depict the type of staples grown or culture popular to a certain area, for instance, here in Opelousas, Louisiana, we have several festivals that are celebrated; Spice Festival, Zydeco Festival, Creole Folklife Festival, just to name a few. In 1946 however, the birth of a festival celebrating the thriving farming of Sweet Potatoes, “Patate Douce” (Creole French Pronunciation), was originated in Opelousas, the Parish Seat of St Landry Parish. The name given to this unique festival was, “The Yambilee Festival”, which would take place the last weekend in the month of October. The name was given due to people referring to sweet potatoes as “Yams”. I’m not familiar with why a yam is technically not a sweet potato, but, if you really must know, please use your search engine for an expert opinion. So, here is my recipe for candied yams which is a holiday favorite of many.
- 3 lbs fresh peeled sweet potatoes
- 2 lbs dark brown sugar (optional, plain sugar can be used, I like my yams dark)
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 box vanilla pudding mix
- 2 sticks salted butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nut meg
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 bag small marshmallows
- In a pot large enough to cook down yams, combine: yams, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nut meg, salt, & salted butter.
- Start heat on low to medium with lid on pot stirring often. Do not raise heat, sugar will be cooking out of sweet potatoes & could burn if cooking too hot.
- Cook until yams have creamy texture. Taste, your taste may require more sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, etc. Let cool 20 to 30 minutes.
- In a bowl, empty cooled cooked yams & add: eggs, box of vanilla pudding, & whipping cream. Mix well until very soft & creamy.
- Empty contents into coated baking dish, size accordingly.
- Cover yams with pecans, (if used), then cover with marshmallows.
- Bake uncovered in preheated oven at 350 degrees until marshmallows cooked very well, (dark brown in color), do not let cook until marshmallows have started turning black.
Remove from oven & let cool for 30 min or longer before serving.