1 lb. dried apricots
1 12oz. can apricot nectar
1 c. water
4 lbs. sweet potatoes or yams
1/2c. packed brown sugar
6 tblsp. melted butter
2 tblsp. orange juice
1 tsp. grated orange rind
1/2 c. pecan halves
Pine nuts (optionaladded at the end!)
Put the apricots in a saucepan and cover with the nectar and water. Let it stand an hour, and then place the pan over moderate heat and simmer until the apricots are tender (about 40 minutes). Drain and save the liquid.
Scrub the potatoes and bake them at 400º for 30 minutes. Cool them, peel them, and cut them in slices lengthwise.
Lightly grease a 2 quart casserole and layer it with 1/3 of the potatoes 1/2 of the apricot mixture, 1/3 of the potatoes, the rest of the apricots, then the rest of the potatoes. Cover with the topping and bake at 375º for 40 minutes, basting occasionally with the liquid that gathers.
Add the (optional) pine nuts on top for the last 10 minutes. (This dish can be made 2 days ahead.)