Make My Potatoes Sweet

Sweet potatoes remind me of my friend Brie…

That is her in the pretty necklace 🙂 

We lived together for 2 years here in Boston and she introduced me to them.  I remember tasting them for the first time and my world changed forever.  I mean, they really are sweet and with a little butter, salt and pepper…heaven.  They became part of our dinner repertoire and we were even known to make a whole meal out of them.

Brie and her boyfriend Brian just got engaged!!! (he is the one in the photo). It has been so fun to see how we have grown up and come so far from our tiny attic apartment on Moore Street, fresh out of college wondering where we would be in 5+ years.  Well in 5 years we are now living with people who would probably not be able to make a meal out of sweet potatoes…bummer.  But, Brie will be happy to know that is really the only bummer about marriage, the rest (living with your soul mate, your best friend, sharing your life with the one you love) is WONDERFUL.

So, back to sweet potatoes.   The cool fall weather makes me think of pumpkins, winter squash and sweet potatoes.  They are a staple on Thanksgiving tables everywhere and over the past couple of years I have been incorporating them into my desserts.  Sweet potato pie is a classic southern dessert, while pumpkin seems to be more prevalent in the north.  Pumpkin has often been explained as tasteless and the flavors we associate with pumpkin are actually sugar, cinnamon, cloves and ginger.  However, sweet potatoes are incredibly flavorful and therefore shine beautifully in baked sweets.

One of the fall desserts I ran at the restaurant was sweet potato pie (more mini tart) with coconut cornmeal crust and streusel topping.  I drew influence from a recipe by Frank Stitt and a recipe from Bill Neal – two very well known southern chefs.  It was a pretty big seller and I revisited the recipe last week.  This recipe is a little involved compared to your normal pie recipe, composed of three different parts.  However, the filling can be doubled and used in your favorite pie crust and served as you would a pumpkin pie, with a little sweetened whipped cream.  Or you could divide the filling among ramekins and cook as a custard, adjusting cooking time to only about 10-15 minutes depending on size of ramekins.

Either way, this is a lovely silky fall dessert that you will very much enjoy – maybe even more than beloved pumpkin 🙂

Sweet Potato Tart

For topping:

Follow the recipe for this topping.
Once mixed, spread on a parchment lined sheet tray and bake at 350 till it begins to brown around the edges and seems to be getting crispy.  About 20 minutes.

For the crust:

8 Tbsp. unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 egg yolk
1/4 tsp of vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup of toasted shredded coconut
pinch of salt

Beat butter in mixer with paddle attachment.  Add sugar and beat till fluffy and smooth.  Add egg yolk  and vanilla. Add flour and coconut and mix till just combined.  Turn out and form into a disk, cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour.

Remove dough from fridge and let sit at room temp for 5-10 minutes.  Roll out on floured surface till about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick.  Press into a 9 inch tart pan with removable bottom.  Chill again for 15 minutes.  Blind bake (lined with parchment and filled with pie weights) for 15 minutes at 350.
Remove parchment and weights and bake an additional 5 minutes.

For the filling:

1 cup of sweet potato puree
1 large egg
1/3 of a cup sugar
1/2 cup of cream
1/3 cup of whole milk
4 Tbsp. melted butter, slightly cooled
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves and coriander
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. bourbon (optional)

Whisk potato puree, sugar and eggs till smooth.  Add cream, milk and butter again mixing till smooth.  Add salt and spices, vanilla and bourbon.  Pour through sieve if it seems lumpy.

To assemble:

Pour filling into partially baked crust. Sprinkle the baked topping  over the custard and bake at 350.  Check after 15 minutes, rotate and continue baking  till center is set.
Serve with slightly sweetened whip cream.


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1 Comment

  1. Brie

     /  October 14, 2011

    Love love this. xoxo


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