The lovely ladies who attended my Thanksgiving cooking class this week received quite a shock at 10 in the morning: I don’t do turkey. I know it’s terribly un-American, but I just can’t bring myself to buy one of those poor, factory-produced, hormone-pumped birds, let alone eat one. It didn’t help that I watched Food, Inc. over the weekend and was still reeling from the eye-popping exposé on our country’s meat-packing facilities.
We spent the morning cooking seven delectable recipes for everything but the bird. There was a delicious salad of butter lettuce, Gorgonzola cheese, candied pecans and Honey-Tangerine Vinaigrette; Cranberry-Raspberry Sauce; Brussel Sprout Chips; Wild Mushroom Potato Gratin; Savory Chestnut, Sage and Sausage Stuffing; Dark Chocolate Walnut Pie…and this festive, sunburst-orange yam purée with a golden streusel topping.
Not to confuse you, but I actually prefer the honey-like sweetness of yams to the starchier sweet potato, but it’s your call. For anyone who is wrestling with what to make for a Kosher Thanksgiving, this uncommon side dish and dessert might be cause for gratitude, for it is a pareve dish as rich and gratifying as necessary this time of year. You can make the streusel today and store it in the freezer until next week. The sweet potatoes can be puréed a day or two ahead, and the whole dish can be assembled and cooked just before the big feast. It will go just perfectly with the roasted salmon I’ll be serving next Thursday.
6 pounds medium sweet potatoes or yams, scrubbed
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (can use light), stirred
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups white spelt flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons grated coconut
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 stick (8 tablespoons) chilled unsalted butter or Earth Balance
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons ice water
1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. and position rack in the middle. Butter a 10-inch round or 9 x 12 baking dish, or eight baby pumpkins that have been scooped out, and set aside.
2. Prick the sweet potatoes in several places with a fork and bake on a baking sheet until very soft, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove them from the oven and lower the temperature to 350° F.
3. While the sweet potatoes are baking, prepare the crumble: place the flour, honey, coconut and salt in the food processor and blend. Add the butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Whisk together the yolks and ice water in a small bowl; add to the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture just comes together. Transfer to a bowl and rinse the food processor.
4. When the sweet potatoes are cool enough to handle, cut them in halves and scoop the flesh into the bowl of the food processor.
5. In a small glass bowl, microwave the coconut milk, brown sugar and salt to a simmer. Remove and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Pour into the sweet potatoes in the food processor and blend until very smooth.
6. Transfer the sweet potato purée to the prepared baking dish, top with the crumble, and bake until the topping is golden brown, about 35 minutes. Serve warm.
For another vegetarian dish that is hearty enough to stand in for turkey, try Wild Mushroom Potato Gratin.