SWEET POTATOES WITH MAPLE SYRUP AND GINGER WITH A PECAN CRUST
This is a silky sweet and chunky dish that has very satisfying textures of soft and crunchy. While the compound butter is optional it certainly is recommended as it ups the taste a good deal, but if you don’t opt to use it then unsalted butter will do fine. Also recommended is somewhat hard to find Grade B Maple Syrup. It has a stronger maple flavor than Grade A so I prefer to use it. Make sure you put enough crust over the top as no matter how much you put, within reason, it won’t be too much. Though pecans are used here you can use any nut and even a combination of nuts.
Maple Syrup, preferably Grade B
Fresh ginger, peeled
Ground dried ginger
Fresh nutmeg, grated
Compound maple/ginger butter
To Make the Maple/Ginger Compound Butter:Mix a softened stick of unsalted butter with about a ¼ cup of maple syrup and about 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated. Mix well and place on some wax paper or plastic wrap and roll into a sausage shape. Place in refrigerator or freezer until needed.
The sweet potatoes can either be peeled, boiled and mashed, or peeled and cut into wedges the long way.
If using mashed potatoes then boil them in a pot with water to barely cover. Cook until soft, then drain well. Put them through a food mill or mash really well. Place into a bowl. Pour over with about ½ cup of maple syrup and grated fresh ginger to taste, about 1 teaspoon of ground dried ginger, about ¼ to ½ teaspoon of grated fresh nutmeg, and a sprinkle of salt. Mix well and mix in about four slices of the maple/ginger compound butter.
Smear some butter in a baking dish and add the seasoned sweet potatoes. Sprinkle the topping on to the sweet potatoes and smooth and press down to cover evenly. Put some maple/ginger butter pieces on top. Place into a 400 degree F. oven and bake about 20-30 minutes for the dish to heat through and the topping to melt. The dish will start to bubble Take out and let set about 5 minutes. Serve hot.
If using the peeled wedges of sweet potatoes, do not cook them first. Pour the maple syrup, ginger, nutmeg and compound maple/ginger butter and salt over the wedges and toss well. Butter the dish and put in the seasoned sweet potatoes. Put the topping over the wedges and press down to fill in the gaps. Put some maple/ginger butter pieces on top. Bake at 400 F for about 40-45 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft. Test with the point of a knife.
Topping Crust:1-1-1/2 cups of pecans
½ cup dark brown sugar
¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
¼ cup fresh cranberries, optional
Put all the ingredients, except the salt, into a food processor and pulse until the mixture is ground into chunks.
Sprinkle the topping on to the sweet potatoes and smooth and press down to cover evenly. Put some compound butter pieces on top and sprinkle a small amount of salt. Place into a 400 degree oven and bake about 20-30 minutes for the dish to heat through and the topping to melt. The dish starts to bubble Take out and let set about 5 minutes. Serve hot.
This dish will freeze well and can be reheated.