Prick each potato in several places with a fork and set on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until tender when pierced with a knife, about 50-60 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then halve them lengthwise and scoop out the flesh into a bowl.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, honey and lemon juice and heat until hot. Using a potato masher, mash the potatoes. Add 1/2 cup of the apple juice, the honey mixture, salt and pepper. Using the masher, mix lightly until smooth. If the puree isn't smooth mix in additional apple juice as needed or pulse a few times in the food processor. Spoon puree into a warmed serving dish and serve immediately.
for the praline topping
Place the finished potatoes in a baking dish. In a food processor combine the pecans, dates, and maple syrup and pulse until well combined. Spread or scatter the topping over the potatoes and bake for an additional 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
The sweet potato mash is just perfectly creamy and sweet by itself but even more divine with the praline topping!