Folks ask me what I make for the holidays. Black Friday is always tamales, and Thanksgiving Day is always Sweet Potatoes. I started making my own marshmallows a few years ago, and really, it is so easy. Just messy and time consuming, but most good things are.
My house smells like boiling pork, chicken and cinnamon right now, a delicious sauna. Alas, it is about 92 degrees outside, and windy, so no holiday spirit yet. But the aroma is edging me there...
Sweet Potatoes with Homemade Marshmallows
Although I know I should measure out this recipe with scientific exactitude, I usually wing it. Two plastic produce bags of sweet potatoes make a ton of puree, enough for two very large casseroles, one of which is delivered to my in-laws, the other to my parents.
To estimate, though, one small sweet potato feeds one person, a large one feeds two. Don't waste time peeling them, as they peel easier after they are cooked. I like to use my electric mixer to puree the potatoes. You can remove the long strands of fiber that collect on the beaters to make a more delicate, light puree.
I don't use butter, as traditional holiday meals are so very rich. Keeping the taste of this dish light is a great contrast.
Marshmallows: (usually done the day before)
¼ cup cornstarch
1/3 cup powdered sugar
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
2/3 cup water
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
Sift together the dusting ingredients. Grease a 13" x9" pan with shortening (Vegetable spray will not work) and coat the greased interior with dusting powder. Set the prepared pan aside, and reserve the remaining dusting powder.
In a 1 qt saucepan, add gelatin and water. Let soak 5 minutes. Add granulated sugar, and stir over moderately low heat until the gelatin and the sugar dissolve.
Pour heated mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add corn syrup, salt and vanilla. Beat at high speed until stiff peaks forms, about 10-15 minutes.
Spread fluffy mixture in the prepared pan and smooth the top. Leave for two hours, until set.
With the wet blade of a dinner knife, cut the marshmallow mixture into small squares. Roll in dusting powder, and place on cake rack overnight, so that the outer surface dries slightly.
Makes 4 dozen marshmallows
5 lbs sweet potatoes
3 whole cinnamon sticks
½ cup pure maple syrup
1 cup pecans pieces
freshly ground cinnamon
Wash the sweet potatoes well, and cut in half. Add the sweet potatoes and cinnamon sticks to a large stock pot, cover with water, and boil until fork tender, about 25 minutes. Drain water, discard cinnamon sticks, and remove peel from cooked sweet potatoes.
Heat oven to 350 °. Place the sweet potatoes in the bowl of a large electric mixer, and whip briefly to make a puree. Remove the long fibrous strands that accumulate on the beater blade. Stir in the maple syrup. Spread the puree in a large casserole dish. Top with freshly ground cinnamon and pecan pieces. Cover with foil, and bake until well heated, about 45 minutes.
Remove the casserole from the oven, remove the foil and top with the marshmallows. Turn on the broiler, and briefly toast the marshmallows. You'll have to stand guard at the oven door, as the marshmallows are delicate and burn quickly. Serve immediately.