I ventured out into combining some of my favorite things from different recipes, so I hope everyone else likes this! The flavor from the infused cream creates a wonderful flavor for the potatoes. Enjoy.
1Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake sweet potatoes until soft when poked with a fork (approximately 1 hour), then let cool and peel. (alternatively, you can boil them, but I prefer the twice baked texture and then you don't risk water logging your potatoes)
2Make Candied Pecans: While the potatoes are in the oven, next melt 2 Tablespoon butter and 1/4 c. brown sugar in a skillet, add 1 tsp vanilla and a bag of pecans. stir on med-high heat until brown and bubbly, add 1 Tablespoon cream, and then continue to cook until all sugar is dissolved. toss on a baking sheet lined with foil and put in the oven at 350 for about 20 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. (Note: this makes more than you need and if you want you can easily cut this part in half ... I make more and add a small bowl of candied pecans to the desert table)
3Make Cream Sauce: While cooking, put 1 1/3 c. of cream in a saucepan and bring it to a simmer with star anise, cinnamon stick and ginger pieces. Let these simmer for about 5 minutes, then turn off, add bourbon, cognac or rum (reserving 2 teaspoons), and let cool with the spices still in the cream and then strain (be sure to press the spices with a spoon to get all the flavor out).
4Make apples: peel apples and slice into even slices (like for a pie). Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a skillet and add apples. When apples are almost done (about 5 minutes) add 1/3 c of the cooling cream, and 2 teaspoons of bourbon, cognac or rum. (*added note: you want to keep cooking and stirring until all the liquids are absorbed into the apples)
5Mash Potatoes: When the potatoes are cool, whip with 3 Tablespoons of butter and the remaining cream.
6Assemble and bake: In a 9x9 deep dish, or a 9x12 regular baking pan, first layer the all of the apples on the bottom of the pan, then top with the mashed sweet potatoes, cover with mini-marshmallows all over the top, then sprinkle the candied pecans on top of those. Bake 25-30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.