America loves its regional traditions, especially when it comes to food, and Southern cuisine is known to favor food that is both rich and sweet. This dish combines both qualities and could be a welcome variation of the sweet potato on Saratoga dinner tables this fall. It is well worth the extra bit of work.
Sweet Potatoes vs. Yams
What is a “sweet potato” and what is a “yam”? Even restaurant menus and labels on packaging often confuse the two. So what are they? The familiar orange tubers commonly available in the U.S. are sweet potatoes from the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae). True yams, members of the Dioscoreaceae family, are generally imported from the Caribbean and are dry, starchy and white fleshed. Few people in the U.S. have actually eaten yams. Despite this, many people, even in the food industry, call sweet potatoes yams.
(Makes 8-10 servings. Those marked * are available at the Saratoga Springs Winter Farmers’ Market.)
2 boiled or baked local sweet potatoes, cooled and peeled to make 2½ cups *
1 tsp. salt
⅓ cup 100% maple syrup (Sheldon Farm) *
3 tbsp. brown sugar, packed
4 tbsp. corn starch
4 farm fresh eggs brought to room temperature and separated *
1½ sticks butter, melted
1 cup heavy cream (Battenkill Valley Creamery) *
½ cup pecans, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Put 2½ cups of sweet potato flesh into a bowl. Stir in the salt, maple syrup, brown sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks and butter. Beat the cream until fluffy and stir into the sweet potato mixture.
3. In another bowl, the beat eggs whites with a pinch of salt until stiff peaks form.
4. Gently fold the egg whites into the sweet potato mixture.
5. Pour into a buttered 2-quart soufflé dish. Sprinkle pecans on top. Bake for 50 minutes.
A version of this market recipe appears in this week’s edition of Saratoga Today.