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Sweet Potato Puree

Look for sweet potatoes that have dark brownish orange skin and a bright orange interior, sometimes labeled "yams" at the supermarket. Their flesh is naturally moist and sweet when cooked and pureed.

Ingredients:

  • 4 lb. orange-fleshed sweet potatoes,
     peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tsp. coarse salt, plus more, to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 5 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • Freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the sweet potatoes, the 2 tsp. salt and water to cover the potatoes by 2 inches. Bring to a boil and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, about 20 minutes. Drain in a colander and transfer to a large bowl. Using a potato masher, mash the sweet potatoes well.

In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the half-and-half and maple syrup until hot. Remove from the heat. Add 4 Tbs. (1/2 stick) of the butter to the sweet potatoes, then slowly pour in the hot half-and-half mixture while stirring with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir until the potatoes are light and creamy. Season with salt and white pepper.

Transfer the sweet potatoes to a warmed serving bowl and top with the remaining 1 Tbs. butter. Serve immediately.
Serves 8 to 10.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Entertaining, by George Dolese (Oxmoor House, 2004).