This recipe is brought to you thanks to the kindness of Sasquatch Books. They sent me a review copy of The Cast Iron Skillet. It sits in my upstate house, buried in snow. Suzen and I haven’t tried to get upstate in three week. We have plenty of snow, and ice, right here in Manhattan.
But I wanted to test recipes, and Sasquatch emailed me a PDF of the book. Suzen was able to scroll through all the sumptuous recipes. As I expected, she stopped when she got to this one, Sweet Potato Soufflé.
I don’t know if you have a problem with sweet potatoes, but I do. It all began when I was a child and my mother, at Thanksgiving, presented a tub of sweet potatoes crowned with marshmallows. I still talk to my therapist about the trauma. Can you get PTSD from one serving of goop? I think I did.
After decades of avoiding them, I now love sweet potatoes. A month ago, we did some experiments and I got a new favorite recipe: sweet potatoes blended in a hot mixture of chiles. It’s wonderful and I will blog it soon. But, but, this soufflé recipe is easily my favorite sweet potato concoction. And I doubt it can ever be surpassed.
“No eggs. How can it be a soufflé?” Suzen asked. She was reading the recipe. I was standing over her shoulder.
“Maybe the half-and-half,” I suggested. “Or the apple cider. Or the butter. Or the sugar. Maybe we should add more sugar.”
I got a dirty look. “Remember, we ate at the restaurant where one of these authors was the chef? Remember how good it was? How Paris-quality it was? We are not messing with anything.”
With perfect diligence, Suzen measured and I obeyed. This recipe is perfectly balanced in its flavors. And the techniques, hand mashing and then beating with an electric mixer, yield a monster result. The sweet potato flavor here is sheltered in layers of apple, orange, and cinnamon. There is dairy richness: butter and half-and-half. All these flavors, all the techniques, and the result is sublime.
This recipe will be appreciated at any time of the year.
I will suggest it for you next holiday [Thanksgiving]. It will make the meal. And, as a side benefit of this side dish, it could spare you years of therapy.
Sweet Potato Soufflé
Yield: 6-8 servings [perfect for a holiday meal]
- 8 medium sweet potatoes or yams (about 4 pounds)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons salted butter, at room temperature
- ½ cup half-and-half
- ¼ cup apple cider
- 3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
- 3 tablespoons chilled salted butter, cut into small pieces
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F.
Put the sweet potatoes in a large stockpot, cover with cold water, and add the salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook the potatoes until soft when pierced, 30 to 40 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.
Peel the sweet potatoes and place in a large bowl. Mash to a coarse consistency with a potato ricer or masher. Add the room-temperature butter, half-and-half, apple cider, brown sugar, cinnamon, and orange zest. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes.
Transfer to a buttered 10- or 12-inch cast iron skillet. Dot the potatoes with the chilled butter pieces and bake in the oven until the top is golden brown, about 30 minutes. For a perfect golden crust on top, broil for the last 5 minutes.