SWEET POTATO SPOONBREAD
Spoonbread is a wonderfully old-fashioned dish that should not be relegated to the tables of old-fashioned cooks. It’s a perfect holiday side. When the spoonbread first comes out of the oven, it will be lovely and puffed. It will settle quickly. If you can get it to the table straight from the oven, great, but by the time you serve it up it will have settled into its delicious self.
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 sweet potatoes
2½ cups whole milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch ground cloves
Pinch cayenne pepper
¾ cup finely ground cornmeal
4 large eggs, separated
2 teaspoons baking powder
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to grease a rectangular or oval 2-quart casserole.
Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and bake them for about 50 to 55 minutes, until they are very soft. Remove them from the oven and let them sit on a wire rack until cool enough to handle.
Combine the milk, maple syrup, salt, pepper, cloves and cayenne in a medium-size saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Sprinkle in the cornmeal slowly, whisking all the while, until it is all added. Continue to whisk over the heat until thickened, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. Cool for about 10 minutes.
Peel and place the potatoes in a bowl. Mash them until fairly smooth. Stir the remaining 3 tablespoons of the butter and the mashed sweet potatoes into the cornmeal mixture. Stir in the baking powder, and then the egg yolks.
In a bowl, using a whisk or electric mixer, beat the egg whites until they just form stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites into the sweet-potato-cornmeal mixture, just until barely incorporated.
Gently transfer the batter into the prepared dish and bake for 25 to 35 minutes (depending on how deep the dish is) until puffed and golden brown.
The middle will still have the slightest jiggle when you wiggle the pan. Serve hot. Makes eight servings.
– Katie Workman, Associated Press