Marcie's Holiday Yams are a Family Tradition

November 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

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My grandmother, Marcie, was a fabulous cook. When I was a little girl, I couldn’t wait to pull a chair up to her big maple table and help her make an array of holiday treats. One of the first things that she taught me to make were her yams, and they are a holiday tradition at my house at Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year we took them as our contribution to a Thanksgiving gathering at my cherished friend and clients’ home here in Austin.  This family favorite got rave reviews, and no one could believe that there is no butter in them.  My daughters and their cousins always put the marshmallows on top just before they go in the oven, another family tradition since they were little. This year, they had some help!

This dish is easy because it can be made the day before and refrigerated. The resting period gives the spices time to enhance the flavor. On the day of your feast, heat the covered dish for about thirty minutes at 350 degrees before serving. When it is thoroughly heated, remove from the oven, add the marshmallows on top and return it to the oven to lightly brown the marshmallows before serving.

Marcie’s Holiday Yams

10 small to medium yams (about the size of your fist)

1/2 Fresh Nutmeg (grated from the seed)

Ground cinnamon to taste

1 and 1/2 bags of large marshmallows

3/4 to 1 cup of water from the water that you boiled the yams in


Wash and peel the yams and put them into a large pot. Cover with water and boil until soft. Lift the yams out of the water with a large, slotted spoon and place them in a large mixing bowl.  Dip the water out of the pot and add small amounts slowly as you mash the yams until they have the consistency that you want. They should be light and smooth, but not runny. Marcie used to mash them with a potato masher, but I prefer to mix them with an electric hand mixer. Cut a fresh nutmeg in half and grate one half of it into the mix. Fresh nutmeg is key! Don’t use pre ground nutmeg; it just doesn’t taste the same.Add cinnamon to taste.  Mix thoroughly.  Spread the mixture into a large casserole dish (38 X 25 X 4). Take a spoon and spread it across the top of the mixture for even distribution in the dish. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. Heat until thoroughly warm and steaming, then add large marshmallows on top. Put back into the oven until they are slightly brown. Marshmallows can brown quickly, so keep your eye on them! Serves 18-20

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