Dessert Dash

Working in the food industry is all about being of service to people. When I can, I take time out from my regular schedule to help out other folks. Chef Traci and I recently donated some desserts to the Boyer Children’s Clinic in Seattle. The nice folks there work to improve the quality of life of children with neuromuscular disorders or other developmental delays. Chef Traci and I have recently committed to increasing our charitable endeavors so you’ll see more from us on helping others in 2017.

Chef Traci made an amazing fondue with proseco and did her best to outdo all the other desserts with the assortment or cookies and other goodies to dip into it (she wins every time when it comes to generosity).

I opted to make one of my favorites, sweet potato pie. I love soulfood (braised collards and grits anyone?), and sweet potato pie is something I always come back to as a favorite. It’s more dense than pumpkin pie, but the spices are similar and it has a flavor that’s incomparable. I used a pâte sucrée for the crust and added toasted pecans. I also used half orange yams and half Japanese sweet potatoes for this version. The white sweet potatoes are starchier than the orange counterpart, but the flavor…well that’s the big difference. If you’ve never had them, now is the time to get your hands on some.

Sweet Potato Pie with pecan shortbread and toasted marshmallow cream

Ingredients

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/8 c heavy cream
  • 1 1/3 c all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 c toasted pecan pieces (not ground as fine as flour, but small enough they won’t break the crust apart)
  • 1/2 c chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/8 c plus 1 1/2 T sugar
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt

Method

Whisk egg yolks and cream in a small bowl; set aside. Combine flour, butter, sugar, and salt until a coarse meal forms. Gradually add cream mixture; blend just to combine (do not overwork dough or crust will be tough).

Transfer dough to a large work surface. Knead just to incorporate, 4-5 turns. Divide dough in half; shape each half into a 1-inch-thick disk and wrap in plastic. Chill until firm, at least 2 hours. DO AHEAD Crust can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled. Let stand at room temperature for 15 minutes before rolling out. Crust can also be frozen for up to 4 months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before rolling out.

Custard

Ingredients

  • 1/2 # Japanese sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 # orange yams
  • 1/4 c butter, softened
  • 1/2 c granulated sugar
  • 1/4 c whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. roll out crust to 1/4″ thick
  3. press into tart pan and bake for 5-10 minutes or until golden
  4. peel sweet potatoes, cut into rough 1″x 1″ pieces
  5. cover with cold water in sauce pot and cook until tender
  6. combine potatoes and butter with a mixer
  7. add sugar, milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla
  8. add eggs one at a time, mix until smooth
  9. pour filling into crust, bake 35 to 50 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Pie will puff up like a souffle, and then will sink down as it cools.

Toasted Marshmallow Cream

Ingredients

  • 6 egg whites
  • 3/4 c granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 jar marshmallow cream
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. whisk whites and cream of tartar until whites become, well, white
  2. gradually add in sugar until soft peaks form
  3. add vanilla and marshmallow cream, beating on high until stiff peak form
  4. spoon onto cooled pie using the spoon or a spatula to create peaks
  5. using a torch, brûlée the cream until golden brown
  6. eat the day you make it, I recommend storing it in a cool place, but not refrigerated
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