Once upon a time I hated sweet potatoes. Though I can't be one hundred percent sure, I believe my first taste of sweet potato was a french fry and compared to my good ole fashioned salty spud potato fries, sweet potatoes were VERY disappointing. And sweet. Why would you make a french fry sweet? That's just gross (oh silly ten-year-old thinking).
Then one Thanksgiving, my mom decided to get a little adventurous and make a sweet potato casserole. No, there weren't any marshmallows on top. Instead, it was a buttery sweet pecan streusel topping that made each bite taste like candy. Leave it to sugar and butter to convert me to a vegetable I had previously hated. It stole the show that Thanksgiving and she made it every year after.
Contrary to popular belief, I don't think that marshmallows complete the perfect sweet potato dish. I mean, I'm not one to turn down sugary fluff and I certainly don't think it hurts the dish, but I believe that brown sugar with a hint of cinnamon create the perfect sweet potato dish.
Take for example, my favorite ever mashed potatoes from Slows BBQ in Detroit. Their sweet potato mash is soft, smooth, and sweet- the kind you could eat as a dessert but will tell yourself that it's a healthy side dish because it's a sweet potato. While I haven't asked for the recipe, I'm sure it's some combination of sweet potatoes, cream, brown sugar, and cinnamon. I will never ask because I don't want to know just how much cream and sugar I'm eating alongside my pile of pulled pork. People just shouldn't know that kind of thing.
Interestingly enough, that's the same combination of ingredients I use in this ice cream. Here I use dark brown sugar to get that deeper sugar flavor that pairs perfectly with the sweet potato and cream. Throw in the cinnamon at the end and you've got the perfect fall smell cooking on your stove. Now, like I said. I wont' say no to marshmallow and it just happens to be the perfect addition to this ice cream. Toasting them beforehand gives you that fresh from the oven taste, even though the end result is nice and cold.
As one of my favorite ice creams I've made so far, I must beg you to make it this fall. Heck, eat it alongside your turkey on Thanksgiving and try to convince your guests it's cold sweet potato mash. Once they taste it, they won't ask questions.
Sweet Potato Ice Cream with Toasted Marshmallows
3 large egg yolks
2/3 cup dark brown sugar, split
1 1/2 cups sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla
2/3 cup mini marshmallows
Prepare an ice bath large enough to hold and cool a 2 quart bowl.
In a medium heatproof bowl, break up the egg yolks with a whisk, then whisk in 1/3 cup of the dark brown sugar. Set aside.
Place your peeled and cubed sweet potato in a 3-4 quart nonreactive saucepan and cover with water. Put the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.
Drain and transfer the potatoes to a food processor and puree until completely smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor between pulses.
In the saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the pureed sweet potato, remaining dark brown sugar, cream, milk, and salt. When the mixture begins to simmer, reduce the heat to medium.
While whisking the eggs constantly, use a ladle to scoop out about a 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture into the yolks. Repeat with another scoop of cream, whisking until incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to stir the cream mixture in the saucepan as you pour the egg mixture into the pan.
While stirring regularly, cook the mixture over the medium heat for about 2 minutes longer or until thickened and coats the back of your spatula, leaving a clear line when you run your finger across the back.
Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the cinnamon and vanilla.
Strain the base through a mesh strainer into a 2 quart bowl. Set the bowl in your ice bath and use a clean spatula to stir the base occasionally until it is completely cooled.
Dry the outside of your container, cover the ice cream base with plastic wrap, and put a lid on your container. Refrigerate the base for at least 2 hours or overnight.
When you are ready to churn your ice cream, place an empty ice cream container into the freezer.
Place a sheet of parchment on a baking sheet and spread out the marshmallows on the pan. Use a kitchen torch or your oven broiler to toast your marshmallows. If using the broiler, keep an eye on your marshmallows the entire time as they toast quickly.
Churn your ice cream in the ice cream machine according to the machine's instructions. When your ice cream is thick but not quite frozen into a solid mass, add the toasted marshmallows one by one.
Once the ice cream is frozen, transfer it to your pre-frozen container. Cover the ice cream with plastic wrap, pressing it down so no air can get in. Put the lid on your ice cream and freeze for at least 5 hours.