Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sweet! Potato? Bread.

Sweet potatoes. Yams. Yams. Sweet potatoes. Both angiosperms, both hailing from a flowering beauty. The firmer sweet potato can claim a delicate morning glory as family and the soft yams are kissing cousins with the lily.

But remember, they aren’t the same and chances are that when you’re buying yams, you’re actually getting sweet potatoes. The U.S. department of agriculture requires anything labeled as “yam” must also bear the moniker “sweet potato.” If you’re looking for a real yam, you’ll likely have to go to a specialty store. And when you get sweet potatoes, you only get a distant relation to a potato.

Either way, we’ll probably have one or the other on our Thanksgiving table. And why not start eating them early, baking moist bread made with sweet potato (or is it yam?) purée to nourish you during your long day of basting and whisking? Now that’s sweet.

Sweet! Potato? Bread

2 cups sugar
2/3 cup orange juice
2/3 cup apple sauce
4 eggs
3 cups flour
2 cups puréed sweet potatoes (about 5. Peel, cube and boil until soft. Purée in food processor.)
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
zest of ½ an orange
1 cup craisins
1 cup pecans

Whisk together sugar, OJ, apple sauce, eggs and sweet potatoes. Fold in dry ingredients, vanilla and zest until well incorporated. Add craisins and pecans and divide batter among 2 bread pans coated liberally with non-stick spray. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes at 350, just make sure the bread springs back when you poke it. Often the middle will still look a bit moist and darker than the rest of the bread. Give it a few more minutes until the center has baked through.

Baker's Note: you can use canned pumpkin as well with almost exactly the same results. But as you've probably noticed, pumpkin has been (1) hard to find and when you do find it (2) terribly expensive. Sweet potatoes have all the flavor, nutritional benefits and are cost effective and readily available