Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Recipe: Bourbon Sweet Potato Tarts with Imperial Stout Sauce

It’s that time of year, when thoughts turn to foods that are steeped in tradition: turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie. There are countless recipes for these Thanksgiving-time favorites and even more personal variations on the theme. In the coming weeks, we’ll be highlighting recipes from some of our newest cookbooks to enliven your holiday table, from the first sip of a beverage to the last bite of dessert (not to mention inspiration for late-night turkey sandwiches and day-after soups). Kicking things off? The humble sweet potato.

While wine is often the beverage of choice on turkey day, craft beers are earning a seat at the table — and a place on the plate.
Perhaps no one knows this better than John Holl, author of  The American Craft Beer Cookbook. Armed with expert knowledge of the complex, nuanced flavors of craft beers, the chefs, brewers, and beer lovers whose recipes Holl has collected have perfected the art of cooking with beloved brews. Here, sweet potato mingles with the boozy, oaky flavor of an imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels, and serves as a dazzling accompaniment to a Thanksgiving meal.

Bourbon Sweet Potato Tarts with Imperial Stout Sauce

Makes 30 small tarts

These tarts could almost be a dessert, but why should you wait to get through several courses to taste this multiflavored treat? Perfect as an appetizer, this recipe can also be used as a side dish to pork loin dishes, ham, or turkey. The sauce calls for a generous pour of a Russian imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels. In recent years, American brewers have taken to aging beer in barrels no longer needed by distilleries. (Charred oak barrels can be used only once for bourbon, according to tradition.) Strong stouts are a popular choice for this treatment because their higher alcohol content stands up to the wood and bourbon flavors absorbed by the beer. There are not many reasons to use a quality bourbon stout for anything other than drinking, but this recipe is one of them.

3 large sweet potatoes
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1 egg
¼ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon bourbon (optional)
30 small phyllo cups or tartlet shells

½ cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup dark brown sugar
¼ cup Oakshire Hellshire II, or similar imperial stout aged in bourbon barrels

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. 
  2. Place the sweet potatoes in a 9- by 13-inch glass baking dish and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until soft when pricked with a fork. Remove the potatoes from the oven to cool slightly and reduce the temperature to 300°F.
  3. Make the topping: When the potatoes are nearly done, mix the pecans, brown sugar, and flour in a small bowl, and then drizzle with the melted butter. Stir to combine and set aside.
  4. Make the sauce: Bring the maple syrup, brown sugar, and beer to a simmer in a small saucepan, and then continue to simmer the sauce, uncovered, until reduced by half.
  5. Assemble the tarts: Peel the potatoes while hot and mash the flesh in a bowl with the butter, brown sugar, orange zest, orange juice, egg, cream, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, and bourbon, if using. Stir to combine well.
  6. Arrange the empty phyllo cups on a baking sheet and fill each with a few tablespoons of potato mixture.  Sprinkle each tart with the topping. Bake the tarts for 15 minutes.
  7. Drizzle the tarts with the sauce and serve immediately. 
Recipe excerpted from The American Craft Beer Cookbook © 2013 by John Holl. All rights reserved.
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Find more Thanksgiving menu inspiration on Inside Storey here
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