Monday, November 16, 2009
My Venture into Sweet Potatoes
'Tis the season for sweet potatoes! A few years ago, my friend and co-worker, Theresa, brought a delicious sweet potato mousse to an office potluck. I fell in love with it and immediately had some ideas on how I'd like to change it. You know me – I love experimenting with recipes!
Theresa got the recipe from her sister, Catherine, who first got the recipe in 1977. Catherine got an incomplete version from her mother-in-law, who was not known for being a great cook, so Catherine had to play with the recipe a lot to get it just right. She has shared the recipe with countless people from around the world. What I particularly like with Catherine's version is that it's not too sweet. You, of course, can make it as sweet as you like but her version allows the wonderful flavor of sweet potatoes to shine through.
At the other end of the spectrum, there are people who really enjoy sweet potatoes on the very sweet side. My version of Catherine's recipe incorporates spices often used in pumpkin pie and a gooey praline sauce with pecans that bake on the bottom of the mousse. I've tried lots of sweet potato recipes that have a praline topping. The problem with a lot of those is that the topping doesn't melt properly and gets crusty – but crusty in a bad way. When you bite into it, you often bite into sugar that, instead of having melted, has crystallized. Not pleasant. Have you ever had cinnamon rolls with a sticky bun topping? That's essentially what I'm doing in my version of the recipe. I put the nuts and gooey sauce on the bottom of the pan, add the mousse on top, and bake it. When you serve it, you should dig all of the way to the bottom with your serving spoon so you can get some of the rich, gooey sauce. When its baking, it smells like sweet potato sticky buns! Very tasty.
So, you have choice of recipes today:
Catherine's Sweet Potato Mousse
Vince's Sweet Potato Mousse with Gooey Praline Sauce
Try one or both! You can't go wrong with either one. Enjoy -- and Happy Thanksgiving!
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Sweet Potato Mousse with Gooey Praline Sauce
Sweet Potato Mixture
5 lbs medium-sized sweet potatoes (about 6 to 7)
1/4 cup sour cream
5 TBSP honey
1/2 tsp table salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 TBSP honey
6 TBSP butter
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup pecans (or more to taste)
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350F. Wash the sweet potatoes and prick them all over with a fork. Wrap each potato individually with aluminum foil. Bake for 1 1/2 hours or until the potatoes are very soft. Carefully unwrap the hot potatoes and place them on a cooling rack. Slice lengthwise through each potato and spread them open. If baking the mousse the same day, leave the oven on while you are preparing everything else.
Step 2: While the potatoes are baking, butter the bottom and sides of a 2-quart casserole dish. Sprinkle the bottom of the dish evenly with the pecans.
Step 3: Also while the potatoes are baking, make the praline sauce by combining the brown sugar, honey, butter, and cinnamon in a saucepan over medium heat. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer then cook for 2 minutes. Pour the warm sauce over the pecans in the bottom of the dish. Make sure the mixture has cooled and solidified (waiting at least 10 minutes) before adding any of the sweet potatoes on top.
Step 4: When the sweet potatoes have cooled enough to handle, remove the skins and put the pulp in a mixing bowl. If needed, use gloves or paper towels to keep from burning your hands. Using a mixer equipped with a whisk attachment, whip the potatoes until smooth (about 2 to 4 minutes at medium speed). Add the sour cream, honey, spices and salt and beat until combined. Next, add the eggs and vanilla and beat until incorporated. Finally, add the heavy cream and whisk to combine. Spoon the sweet potato mousse into the dish with the cooled praline sauce.
Step 5: Bake the mousse until the center has reached an internal temperature of about 155F (about 1 hour and 10 minutes). Serve hot. When serving, make sure to dig all of the way to the bottom to get some of that gooey praline sauce with each spoonful.
Alternate Preparation: On the day before serving, do Steps 1 through 4. However, make sure the potatoes have cooled completely before adding them to the mixer. After completing Step 4, cover and refrigerate overnight.
On the day of serving, remove the dish from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature (45 minutes to an hour). About 20 minutes before baking, start preheating the oven to 350F. Bake the potatoes until they have reached an internal temperature of 155F (about 1 hour and 20 minutes).
Posted by Cooking Ventures at 8:28 PM