This vanilla mashed sweet potato recipe has been cast in a regular role on our Thanksgiving table, but is great the rest of the season as well. I'll take this version over the one showered with marshmallows any day. Here's what you're in for: plump vanilla beans, cream, orange zest, and butter combined with sweet potatoes that have been roasted in the oven until they develop a beautiful, rich, flavor-concentrated flesh. A quick whirl in the food processor produces a smooth, creamy, subtly sweet puree haunted by the delicious vanilla and citrus undertones. The consistency was that of a thick frosting. You can also use the puree as a base for other recipes:
- thin it out with some vegetable stock for an autumn soup.
- add an egg or two, maybe some grated cheese for a tart filling.
- yum. Sweet potato raviolis.
- wrapped in phyllo or puff pastry dough.
The recipe comes from a new cookbook - Artisanal Cooking by Terrance Brennan. There are a couple other recipes from his book that I look forward to trying - Chestnut Spaetzle, Apple Tarte Tatin with Cheddar Cheese Crust, and also a Cauliflower Soup with Cheddar Croutons.
I topped the sweet potatoes with the Autumn Spice Oil (also in the book). A bunch of spices including juniper berries, cardamom, star anise, cinnamon, cloves - toasted, freshly ground, and bathed in warm oil. I hope you enjoy this one as much as we have!
Vanilla Mashed Sweet Potato Recipe
(heidi notes: I used sea salt, and regular pepper)
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, cleaned and left a bit damp
1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons heavy cream
1/3 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (optional)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
white pepper in a mill
Preheat the oven to 350F. Put the potatoes on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until tender to a fork tip, about 1 hour. Remove from oven and let cook until warm enough to handle, 10 to 15 minutes. Peel and discard the skin. Put the potatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade.
Meanwhile, pour the cream into a 2-quart pot, add the vanilla bean and orange zest, if using, and set it over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Use tongs to fish out and discard the vanilla bean. Pour the mixture over the potatoes in the processor and add the butter.
Puree the potato mixture until smooth. Season with salt and 4 grinds of pepper, or to taste. Keep covered and warm until ready to serve.
Autumn Spice Oil
(heidi note: I think there is an ingredient omission in this recipe. The ingredient list leaves out the amount of oil to use. So, based on the other infused oils in this book I used the same amount, 1 cup.)
4 star anise
1/2 tablespoon juniper berries
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon allspice
1 medium cinnamon stick, crushed, or 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1/3 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
2 pieces dried orange peel, optional
1 cup oil (heidi note: I used olive oil - a mild tasting one) - He uses canola in some of his other recipes.
Put the star anise, juniper berries, cardamom, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves in an 8-inch saute pan and toast overmedium heat, shaking constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.
Transfer the spices to a spice or coffee grinder and pulse for a few seconds.
Transfer the spices to a bowl, add the vanilla bean and orange peel, if using, and set aside.
Pour the oil into a small pot and heat it over medium-low heat until warm. Pour the oil over the spices and vanilla. Cover and let infuse at room temperature for 24 hours, periodically mixing the bowl. (heidi note: terrance says not to strain, but i strained anyways at this point - I think my spices were a bit on the chunky side of a fine grind).
Cover and keep at room temperature for up to 2 weeks or refrigerate for up to 1 month.
Makes 1 cup.