Seasoned sweet potatoes

Rosemary Stout Roasted Sweet Potatoes

The idea for this sweet potato dish came from a stout tasting over dinner with my friends David Suits and Artie Fleischer.  While discussing food options, and pairings, the idea of sweet potatoes cooked in a nice hearty stout just seemed to work in my head.  With the winter chill we had in the air at the time, a hearty winter herb like rosemary quickly sprang to mind.  Since then, this recipe has been a mainstay in our home during both warm and cold weather.  Personally, I like to cook the potatoes till they are just past fork tender and basically melt in your mouth while still retaining their shape.

Yield – 4 servings

I recommend cooking this recipe in one of .

Ingredients:

4 sweet potatoes

unsalted butter 1 stick

1 bottle of Stout beer (I recommend Old Rasputin)

4 or more sprigs rosemary (or other seasonal herbs) to taste

salt and pepper as needed

Method:

Preheat oven to 450•. Wash and dry sweet potatoes.  With a fork, poke holes around all sides of potato.  Rub outside of sweet potato completely – you should have a good layer of butter on there.  Place in an oven safe pot or dutch oven and salt and pepper liberally.  Toss the rest of the butter into the pan.  Add rosemary sprigs and beer to dutch oven.  Place in oven and roast for 1hr  (flip them @ 30 mins) or until sweet potatoes are fork tender.  Any remaining roasting juices are delicious poured over the finished potatoes.

Notes:

Sweet potatoes when finished make a delicious side with a good pan seared pork chop.

You can also make these individually wrapped in foil.  However, I find cooking them in a dutch oven to be the superior method (and much less work).

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

White Chocolate Pumpkin Cheesecake Bread Pudding

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

White Chocolate Cheesecake Pumpkin bread pudding

This recipe is a riff on a few versions of bread pudding I have made over the years.  Personally, I find bread pudding to be a super flexible and enjoyable dish that lends itself to endless variation.  I came up with this one year before Christmas as an alternative to having another pumpkin pie during the holidays.  Since then, this has been a staple on our holiday menu (as well as a welcome change to endless pumpkin pies while still keeping the theme intact.)

Ingredients:

1 loaf bread (I recommend a country style loaf, or brioche) – left out overnight to become stale

1 package (8oz) Philly Cream Cheese

1 cup pecan pieces

1/2 cup white chocolate chips

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups milk

1 15oz can Libby’s Pumpkin

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

2 tbsp coffee bourbon

1 tbsp

1 tsp

1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

Pinch of salt

6 eggs plus 4 yolks

Butter (to grease a casserole dish)

Method:

Slice the bread up into half inch cubes and place in a large mixing bowl.  Slice the cream cheese into half inch squares and sprinkle over the bread. Do the same with the white chocolate chips and pecans.

Next, in a separate mixing bowl combine all remaining ingredients except the eggs. Mix well and adjust to taste. Whisk in the eggs and egg yolks. Pour the custard over the bread and fold together gently. Mixture should be wet. If the pudding mixture appears dry, add a bit of milk or half and half.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 350•.

Use butter to grease a . Then spread pudding evenly in dish and bake for 45 mins or until center appears set. Cool for 15 minutes.

Serve with whipped cream and bourbon coffee.

Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie (aka, the Pie)

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Bourbon Pecan Pie

Every year around Christmas time I start getting calls, text messages, emails, veiled hints, and outright demands for this pie.  I ran across the recipe about 20 years ago, and aside from minor variations, its been a staple in my holiday planning every year.  This year, I made 13 of them for friends and family.  One year, my roommate requisitioned my pie (the only one I had kept for myself)  to take to Christmas at his family’s home.  We’re still friends, but I never let him live it down.  (I love his family dearly, so they usually get a pie now regardless.)

The Pie:

Ingredients:

9in Pie Crust (I recommend ChefStep’s excellent Pate Brisee recipe if you have the time)

4 large room temperature eggs

1 cup light corn syrup

6 tablespoons butter, melted (but NOT hot)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

3 tablespoons bourbon (I recommend Four Roses Small Batch)

1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1 tablespoon

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

1 cup chopped pecans

Preheated 350 degree oven

 Method:

Blend eggs in a stand mixer along with corn syrup.  Add ingredients one at a time (in order) until everything but the pecans and chocolate is left.  Batter should be golden and a bit frothy.  In the pie crust, add your chocolate chips and distribute evenly.  Add your pecans on top of the chocolate.  Ladle your batter over the pecans coating them evenly.  Bake for 1 hour.  Turn the pie after the first 30 mins to ensure even baking.  Cool on a wire rack completely.  Enjoy!

Notes

The pie will puff up while baking.  It will drop as it cools.

Share this pie at your own risk.  People will expect you to make them one around the holidays. Forever.

If you have an Aldi’s near you, you can make these pies on the cheap.  They have great prices on the sugars, pecans, and chocolate.  Great for making 10+ pies at a time.  Just saying.

Pecan pie slice

The finished product