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Sweet Potato Crème Brûlée with Caramelized Pecans and Whipped Cream

By Brittany Hutchins, Pastry Chef, Blackstone Caterers

I created this dessert for my mother, who is a huge crème brûlée fan. This dessert is a great alternative to traditional sweet potato or pumpkin pie. It’s smooth, light and packed with flavor without being too sweet.

2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1¼ pounds)
5 large egg yolks
½ cup sugar
½ cup (packed) brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
3 cups heavy whipping cream
8 tablespoons raw sugar
1 cup fresh whipped cream (optional)
8–10 Purple Pear of Providence buttered
pecans, lightly chopped (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°. Using a fork, prick the top of the sweet potatoes and bake them in the middle of the oven until very tender, about 1¼ hours. Cool to room temperature. Scoop the flesh from potatoes and purée in a food processor until smooth.

Reduce oven temperature to 325°. In a large bowl whisk together egg yolks, sugars, vanilla, spices and salt until light and fluffy. Bring cream just to a boil in medium saucepan. Immediately remove
from heat and gradually add cream into egg mixture, whisking constantly. Add 1½ cups sweet potato purée and whisk until combined. Divide mixture into ramekins and place in a large roasting
pan in the center of the oven. Add enough hot water to the pan to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Bake until custards are just set in center, about 40 minutes. Chill custards until cold, about 6 hours. (Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.)

When ready to serve, sprinkle 1 tablespoon of raw sugar into each ramekin. Using oven broiler or kitchen torch, melt the sugar until golden brown and caramelized. Top with a dollop whipped cream and sprinkle with pecans.

Serves 8.

Pairing: Licor 43, also known by its Spanish name “Cuarenta y Tres,” is 31% alcohol by volume (62 proof ) and is a light-bodied, sweet liqueur. The aroma is sharp, warm and complex, with vanilla up front, and then tangy sweet fruit, spices and an aged-rum-like presence. The flavor is similar to the aroma; vanilla, complex intermingled spices, tangy fruits and hints of citrus, carried by a flavor similar to fine aged rum. —Frank La Pere, Grapes & Gourmet, Jamestown.

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