The first time I had this dish was the first Thanksgiving I spent with my future in laws. Up to that point I had only ever had them, in a shared dish, with either a crunchy sugary topping or with marshmallows. These sweet potatoes have a little bit of sweetness but it tastes very natural if that makes sense. The apples may seem like a strange pairing but they really add depth of flavor and lend a touch of moistness without adding butter or oil. My mother in law informed me that she had essentially modified a recipe that she found in a cookbook called Don’t Eat Your Heart Out, it’s a healthy cookbook aimed at heart health. It doesn’t taste like health food by any means but it doesn’t have that heavy starchy overly filling feeling either.
I have since made these sweet potatoes every Thanksgiving since that first time. I also make them from time to time as a side dish to have with pork roasts, ham, or the other turkeys I make throughout the year. Obviously it is too late for you to make these for Thanksgiving this year but I think they are worth making all throughout the year.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roast sweet potatoes until cooked through and tender to the touch. Let the sweet potatoes cool, then remove the skins and cut into large chunks. Spray a 9x 13 dish with cooking spray then place a half of the sweet potatoes in an even layer across the bottom. Mix the brown sugar, dried cranberries, ground pecans, and chopped pecans in a bowl and set aside. Add half of the thinly sliced apples followed by half of the pecan mixture. Repeat all the layers with the remaining ingredients. Bake in the oven for 45- 60 minutes or until the apples are tender, serve warm.
If you are looking to make this ahead you can cook the sweet potatoes and store in the fridge until needed. If you assemble the dish you must cook right away so the apples do no brown but you can cook it for 45 minutes and then reheat the entire dish for 20 minutes or so at the time you are ready to serve.