This is one of the simplest dishes you might serve at your holiday table, but you can bet it'll be in the running for most popular. The recipe is based on one used by Chef Josiah Citrin's mother. He now serves an upscale version at his Santa Monica restaurant, Mélisse, which can also be found in his cookbook, "In Pursuit of Excellence."
People are often confused about the difference between sweet potatoes and yams. In other parts of the world, they are actually two entirely different tubers. But in North America, what is labeled as a yam in the grocery store is actually a variety of sweet potato. So, though this recipe calls for the orange-fleshed vegetable we know as a yam, you'll get a very similar flavor profile from the paler types.
5 lbs yams, peeled and cut into large dice
8 Tbsp butter
½ C milk
½ C brown sugar
Cook yams in salted boiling water until soft. Remove from heat and strain completely. Place in a mixing bowl, add the butter and beat with a whisk until smooth. Add the eggs and whisk again to incorporate.
Scald the milk in a saucepan and add to the yams. Add the sugar and mix well. Place in a baking dish.
2 c brown sugar
2 c cream
4 cups pecans, toasted and rough chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
8 Tbsp butter, melted
4 tsp vanilla extract
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and place in heavy saucepan. Add the cream, sugar, pecans, and spices and whisk until well combined. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer and cook for five minutes mixing often. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract.
To finish, pour pecan praline over yam mixture and bake in preheated 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Use a cake tester to check for doneness. Serve hot.
[Homepage image via Food and Whine]
[Image via C'est La Vegan]
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