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Sweet Potato Créme Brûlée

I promised this recipe to a couple people and since I made it last night/this morning, I thought I'd put it up along with a picture of one of the results from this morning. Garnished in this case with fresh Marion blackberries.

Sweet Potato Créme Brûlée


1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled, baked and pureed
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 quarts heavy cream
1 vanilla bean split in half or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
16 large egg yolks

In medium bowl, mix together the pureed sweet potatoes, 1/4 cup sugar and the lemon juice until combined. Butter 8 - eight ounce custard cups or ramekins. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons of the sweet potato mixture into each cup to form a 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick layer.

Preheat oven to 325°

In medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream, vanilla bean (or vanilla extract), and 3/4 cup sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat.

In large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and another 3/4 cup of sugar. Gradually pour the egg mixture into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Return the saucepan to the stove and cook on low heat for 3-5 minutes or until mixture thickens.

Fill the ramekins or custard cups with enough of the cream mixture so they are about 7/8ths full. Place the filled cups in a baking pan that is large enough to hold them all. (I generally use 2 - 9x13 pans for this). Add enough hot water to the baking pans to come within 1 inch of the tops of the cups. Bake 45 minutes or until the custards are barely set and an inserted toothpick comes out slightly wet. Remove the custards from the baking pan and refrigerate overnight.

Next day, preheat the broiler. Lightly sprinkle the tops of the custards with remaining sugar. Don't be stingy with the sugar. Give each custard a 1/16 to 1/8th inch thick layer of sugar. Place the custards unde the broiler for 30 - 60 seconds and let them brown. Watch them closely as this happens quickly once it starts. Removed the custards from the heat and once the sugar has hardened, (1-2 minutes), serve the Créme Brûlée. You may want to garnish with Fresh Berries and mint leaves if they are in season. Mint leaves are not exactly in season in Illinois in February.

Note, you can use 6 oz custard cups but if you do, cut everything for the cream mixture by 1/4 or you will end up with more custard than you know what to do with.




( 17 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 9th, 2005 03:55 pm (UTC)
Haha... you should post that to food_porn because that is just what that is. Woo!
Feb. 9th, 2005 04:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the link, I'll do that tomorrow.

Feb. 9th, 2005 06:40 pm (UTC)

I can't buy groceries until Friday or next Wednesday. My cupboard is bare. The cats are eating better than I am. And you go and post this.

Feb. 10th, 2005 08:04 am (UTC)
hehehehe, aww you know I'm your hero.

Feb. 9th, 2005 07:35 pm (UTC)
Good lord that's a lot of sugar. Have you ever tried replacing a percentage of it with cornstarch? Or just eliminating part of it? If so, what were the results? (I've found that if I caramelize such things with my small jeweler's torch instead of relying upon the oven or even broiler, I can usually cut back on the amount of sugar used. And I get a crisper surface, too.)

Also, given the sweet potatoes... Have you tried to go savoury with it rather than sweet? Cut back on the sugar, replace the berry garnish with an herb garnish and herbs in the mix (perhaps rosemary)...?

...Guess what I'm saying is that it sounds good enough, I'm already considering variants. *wry grin* And if you've already experimented along those lines, well, there's no need for me to reproduce the effort, is there? ;)
Feb. 10th, 2005 08:14 am (UTC)
This is an old "low country" recipe from the Carolinas that came out of the slave cooking tradition and pretty much used what they had at hand which was the reason for the sweet potatoes. I've only made it three times so far so it's not something I've really done a lot of experimenting with yet. I generally experiment with things I intend to make more often than once in a blue moon. But all great suggestions. Desserts, even though I make them quite often for other people are not an every meal thing for me so i guess I don't worry so much that something has a lot of sugar in it if I'm not eating it all the time. But thanks for the variations. I'd be intereseting to see how they come out for you.

Feb. 10th, 2005 08:16 am (UTC)
Oh and aside from that carmelized sugar part, it's really not all that sweet. The sweet potatoes really give a good balance to the creme part of it.

Feb. 10th, 2005 01:11 pm (UTC)
I have made one substitution before. I forgot. The second time i made it, I used pumpkin instead of sweet potatoe. Entirely different flavor but good as well.

Feb. 10th, 2005 10:32 pm (UTC)
This makes sense, as my pumpkin pies always have a bit of roasted sweet potato in them in addition to the pumpkin itself. The two have different flavours, but they're certainly complimentary. And I do both savory and sweet versions of that pie.

Interesting, the history of the recipe. Where did you come across it?
Feb. 11th, 2005 08:12 am (UTC)
There is an up-and-coming chef named Marvin Woods. He's got restaurants in South Carolina and Miami. He put out a cookbook with recipes handed down from his great grandmother who was a little girl during the last of the slavery years. Lots of really good stuff using ingredients that were at hand at the time but of course he also puts a modern spin on some of them. I've really just delved into the desserts so far but the main meal selections with make you mouth water as well. Lots of rice and vegetable recipes. It's called the New Low Country Cookbook.

Feb. 10th, 2005 08:50 am (UTC)
Feb. 10th, 2005 10:11 am (UTC)
I did it. It's now posted on 4 different cooking communities.

Feb. 10th, 2005 09:47 am (UTC)
*licks computer screen*
Feb. 10th, 2005 10:05 am (UTC)
It is THAT good too.

Feb. 10th, 2005 10:16 am (UTC)
looks it!
Feb. 11th, 2005 04:10 pm (UTC)
If it is ok, I would like to friend you. I saw this post the other night in food porn, and just really like your rural ruin post today.

Feb. 11th, 2005 11:52 pm (UTC)
Sure, you can never have too many friends.

( 17 comments — Leave a comment )