Thursday, November 13, 2014

Sweet Potato cream

One of my favorite dishes for Thanksgiving is sweet potato casserole, however my husband doesn't care for it.  For years, I made it anyway, just to eat a serving or two for myself, then it would get lost in the fridge and I'd end up throwing out the rest a week or so later.  This went on for years.  Years!!  Then I started thinking, "How can I still have my sweet potato casserole, that will keep for awhile without going bad?"  I thought that maybe I could freeze some, and thaw it out....and the more I thought about freezing it, I thought, "Hey!  I could just turn it into an ice cream!!  Yes!  A sweet potato ice cream, with layers of toasted marshmallow ice cream!  Oh!  Even better, I'll make up some candied pecans, swirl them into the sweet potato ice cream!"
I'm not going to lie, I was really on to something with that thought..
This ice cream isn't very pretty, but wowza does it taste amazing!  There are quite a few steps involved with this one, but this makes two full batches of ice cream, so this will last you for awhile.  However, you keep it in the freezer, so you can eat off of it for awhile!  That's what I call a win-win situation!  
The sweet potato ice cream is creamy, with some very basic ingredients, but the real shining star here is the toasted marshmallow ice cream.  I'm already toying with the idea of doing the same process, but making a s'mores ice cream!  
Here's your grocery list for this lovely treat:
Sweet potato ice cream:
2 lbs. sweet potatoes
1 C heavy cream
1/2 C whole milk
3/4 C brown sugar, packed
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp maple syrup extract (or plain maple syrup)

Toasted marshmallow ice cream:
10 oz marshmallows
2 C whole milk
1 C heavy cream
5 egg yolks
1/3 C granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Spiced pecans:
3 C pecans (halves or chopped bits, whatever your preference)
1 1/2 C granulated sugar
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1/2 C water

Alright, we'll get started with roasting the sweet potatoes.  Preheat the oven to 400*, and wash the potatoes; we'll roast them whole, then peel them after they have roasted.  Once the oven has preheated, pop them in for an hour, or until a knife slides easily in.  After the potatoes are fully cooked, the skins will slide off.  Once they are cooled, cut them up and puree them into a smooth paste.  

Once the sweet potatoes are smoothed out, add in the milk, cream and spices.  Blend them up together, and add in the maple extract.  I thought about forgoing the maple extract, but it really makes a huge difference in the taste of this ice cream!

Cover this ice cream base with plastic wrap (I go over the proper way to cover an ice cream base in this post Brown sugar peach ice cream - there is a correct way, and a wrong way to cover an ice cream base), and put it into the fridge overnight.
Now then, lets start over with the toasted marshmallow ice cream!  This is where things get fun!  To start off with, beat the egg yolks and sugar together, until they are light yellow in color.

Set those aside, and dump your marshmallows onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  You can either use a kitchen torch, individually roast them over an open flame, or place them under the broiler for a minute or so, like I did.  Do remember to keep an eye on them, though, because there is a fine line between perfectly toasted and trash.  While your marshmallows are in the oven, heat your milk in a medium sized pot over medium heat, until just simmering.  

Once your marshmallows are lovely and toasted on one side, flip them over, and toast the other side.  They weren't as difficult as I thought they were going to be to flip, I was able to do it with just my fingers, but if they're too hot for you to handle, you can use a spatula, or tongs to flip them over.  

Once your milk is simmering, slowly add it to the egg yolk/sugar mixture, whisking constantly, making sure that your eggs don't scramble.  As I cautioned before, you really want to keep a very close eye on those marshmallows!  While I was adding my milk to the egg yolks, smoke started coming out of my oven!  I started shouting some choice words, as I pulled my smoking marshmallows out of the oven, but they weren't too bad.....we'll just call them extra toasted!  Actually, they were delicious, but literally, another couple of seconds, and they would have been trash!

Because these were roasted on parchment paper, they will easily slide off into your blender, or food processor.  Dump them in, and give them a quick whirl; they are mostly air, so they will quickly deflate into a puddle of amazing deliciousness.  

With that done, transfer your milk/egg yolk/sugar mixture back into the medium-sized pot, and cook over medium heat, until the liquid has thickened.  Once the mixture is ready, pour it in with the marshmallows, and blend them together, then add in the heavy cream and vanilla extract, and give it another whirl.  

Cover it like you did with the sweet potato ice cream base, and set this also in the fridge overnight.  Now then, lets turn our attention to the spiced pecans.  I know, I know, there are a lot of steps here, but this ice cream is worth it!   
Preheat your oven to 350*, and add the sugar, water, and spices to a small pot, and bring to a boil over medium heat.  While you're waiting on this to come up to a boil, spread your pecans out in a single layer, on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, and toast them in the oven for 8 minutes.

Once your water/sugar mixture has come up to a boil, let it boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  After your pecans have toasted for 8 minutes, flip them over, and toast them for another 8 minutes.  

Once your water/sugar/spice mixture has boiled for 5 minutes, and your pecans have toasted on both sides, slide your pecans into a medium sized mixing bowl, then pour your liquid mixture over the top and mix well.  

Pour your pecans back onto the baking sheet, over the parchment paper, and let them cool.  This will set up like a bark, or a brittle.  Once the nuts have cooled, break them apart.  I put mine into an air tight container, and shook them like crazy.

When you are ready to make up your ice cream, pour your sweet potato ice cream base into your machine, and let it churn for about 10 minutes.  Then add in your pecans, the last 5 minutes.

I happen to have a second ice cream machine that I had going at the same time, with my toasted marshmallow ice cream base.  I was impatient, however, and the freezer part of my ice cream machine wasn't completely frozen, so my toasted marshmallow ice cream didn't set up like a soft serve.  It was just a really cold mixture.  
Oh well, I'd worked too hard to just toss it!  I just poured some on the bottom of a large plastic container, and globed some of the sweet potato ice cream down on top of it, and layered it like that, back and forth, until everything was in!
If you don't have two ice cream machines, make up one ice cream base, put it into a freezer safe container, then make the other ice cream the next day, and then scoop them in together the next day.  

Even though my toasted marshmallow ice cream didn't set up in the machine, it really did freeze beautifully and this ice cream combo tastes amazing!  This will be a staple fall treat in our house from here on out!  I fool myself into thinking it's not so bad for me, since it does have 2 pounds of sweet potatoes in it!  ...right?