Monday, November 28, 2011

Sweet Carrot Casserole Cake

My Mother-in-Law loves the Carrot Casserole from Furr’s Cafeteria, especially during the holidays. She will order a large pan of it, and eat it over several days. I remember having a little taste last year when life was very hectic and we agreed to order food instead of cooking it like we normally would. It was horrible. Sickly sweet, and with a strange texture. This year when she ordered the stuff again, we decided to make our own version so the kids would at least have a healthier version to try.

After looking around the interwebs to see if someone else had come up with a clone of the recipe that we could change to fit our tastes, I finally found one that was close enough here. It is similar, but not quite the same thing. The one we came up with is still rather sweet for our tastes, more like a dessert than a side dish. If I were to make this as a side for our family again, I would probably just stick with the amount of agave used during the cooking of the carrots and omit the added sugar. We tend to prefer dishes that aren’t overly sweet, but I know that not everyone shares our tastes. So experiment and see what works for you!

I did a side-by-side comparison of the dishes so you could see how different they are. There are no ingredient lists at all for the “Carrot Souffle” from Furr’s, so I cannot speak to what it actually has in it. Judging from their ingredient lists of other dishes, I can believe it has 20+ ingredients, mostly chemical or preservatives. I am not entirely certain it even has carrots in it (and is the bright orange monstrosity on the left).

On the other hand, I know that ours does. I decided to call this a cake rather than just a casserole because its texture and sweetness really is more like a cake than a side dish.

This recipe makes enough for an 8 x 8” pan in the oven.

Sweet Carrot Casserole Cake

2-3 cups of cooked carrots (about 14 or 15 raw medium-large carrots)
1 ½ sticks of butter
¼ cup agave nectar (dark)
2 eggs, well beaten
½ cup sugar
3 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. baking powder

Shred carrots and cook in pan with the butter and agave until tender, caramelizing if you want. We prefer the fuller-bodied flavor that cooking them in a pan and letting them caramelize a bit creates, rather than steaming. You may need to cook them in a large pot or in batches, as it is a lot of carrots at first. Don’t worry; they will reduce in size quite a bit! At this point, you can put them in a food processor to mash them, or leave them in the shredded state. We left them shredded and the consistency ended up the same as if we had mashed them first.

Blend the eggs, sugar, flour and baking powder in a bowl. Combine with the carrots and pour into a well-greased 8 x 8 casserole dish.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 - 45 minutes, until done.

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