Sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows

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Sweet potato is a root vegetable that resembles a potato, although it is quite different in taste and texture (and is not related to the potato). It has a pinkish-orange skin and a deep-orange, creamy-textured flesh that’s much lighter and fluffier than that of the potato. Sweet potatoes have a slightly sweet flavour (as their name suggests). They’re baked and topped with marshmallows at the American Thanksgiving table. Sweet potatoes can be cooked in similar ways to the potato but cook much more quickly. Bake, mash or roast sweet potatoes, or use them in vegetable soups and bakes. Alternatively, add them to risottos, pasta dishes and curries. Toast marshmallows under the grill or over an open flame until they’re crisp on the outside and melting on the inside. Alternatively, melt them completely, mix with puffed rice and leave to set to make sweet, sticky treats. Marshmallows are also a key ingredient in Rocky road (a fridge cake made from chocolate, marshmallows, cherries and sultanas).

Ingredients:

9 sweet potatoes, (about 12 ounces each)
1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil1 stick unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons (8 tablespoons)
1/3 cup pure maple syrup, preferably grade B
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamonSalt, to tasteCayenne pepper3 cups mini marshmallows

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350° and set a sheet of foil in the bottom. Rub the sweet potatoes with the oil and prick each one all over with a fork 5 or 6 times. Roast the potatoes directly on the oven rack for about 1 hour, until tender. Let cool slightly.

Split each sweet potato lengthwise and carefully scrape the flesh into a large saucepan. Transfer 12 of the potato skin halves to a baking sheet (discard the remaining 6 skin halves). Using a whisk, mash and whip the sweet potatoes over moderate heat until slightly dry, about 5 minutes. Add the butter, maple syrup and cinnamon. Season the mixture with salt and cayenne, whisking until it is smooth and hot.

Spoon the sweet potatoes into the 12 skins. Press the mini marshmallows onto the mashed sweet potatoes. Bake the potatoes in the center of the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until heated through. Turn on the broiler and broil for about 1 minute, until the mini marshmallows are toasted. Alternatively, brown the marshmallows using a kitchen blowtorch. Serve the twice-baked potatoes right away.