Sunday, November 18, 2012

Sweet Potato Puffs

It’s hard to beat plain baked sweet potatoes.  We like them best with a dab of butter, a sprinkle of salt and a robust grind of black pepper.  For Thanksgiving, sweet potatoes often get a bit too gussied up for us with their marshmallow poof hair-do.  This year I looked for common ground so that diners could dress up their serving with some brown sugar and nuts or leave plain and simple.

I like the result not only because it is light but also because it preserves the natural sweetness of a baked and slightly caramelized sweet potato.   And there was an unexpected bonus.  These can be made ahead, even frozen, and warmed in the oven or microwave at serving time.  And, for those who are looking for the marshmallows, it’s fine to toss a few on top of the puffs for a final blast in the oven.

Sweet Potato Puffs
  • Bake enough sweet potatoes for each diner plus 1-2 extra.  If they are very large, you might not need the extras.  (Preheat oven to 400˚F. Place some aluminum foil on the lowest oven rack.  Prick the skin on the top side of each sweet potato. Place potatoes on the rack above the foiled rack.  Bake at 400˚F for 30-45 minutes until potatoes are quite soft.  Cool before proceeding with puff recipe.  OK to bake potatoes a day ahead.)
  • Cut each cooked sweet potato in half lengthwise and scoop out the flesh into a large bowl. Using a fork, lightly mash the potatoes.
  • Preheat oven to 400˚F.
  • For every 2 cups of baked sweet potato, add:
2 tablespoons Mascarpone cheese (or cream cheese)
1 tablespoon dark rum
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 whole egg
  • If the sweet potato jackets are in good shape, you can fill them with the sweet potato puff filling or make individual servings in buttered ramekins.  If using the jackets, place each portion on a lightly oiled pie plate for baking.  The mixture can also be placed in one large or a few smaller buttered, baking dishes.  
  • Bake at 400˚F for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your vessel.  Remove and serve immediately or allow to cool completely and store refrigerated or frozen until ready to eat.
  • Defrost frozen puffs before reheating.  Reheat in the microwave on medium until heated through (2-3 minutes) or in a 325˚F oven for 25-30 minutes.  
 Toppings that can be added at the table or during the last few minutes in the oven include brown sugar and pecans, marshmallows, salted peanuts, toasted coconut or a sprinkle of cinnamon.