Crispy Caramelized Sweet PotatoesPhoto Credit : Elizabeth Cecil
It took many tries to get exactly the recipe we were looking for: candied sweet potatoes that were crisp, not mushy. I tried numerous ways of cutting and roasting the spuds, but their high water content left them perpetually soft until we came across a recipe on Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen blog. By thinly slicing her potatoes and standing them upright, she was able to crisp their edges. It was a lovely dish, but an intentionally savory one. So we utilized the technique, but added a brown sugar-ginger glaze. Voilà! Just the crispy, caramelized top we wanted.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as canola
Up to 8 large, peeled sweet potatoes (about 7 pounds), of even thickness
4 tablespoons salted butter, melted
1/3 cup firmly packed light-brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400° and set a rack to the middle position. Grease a 3-quart baking dish with the vegetable oil and set aside.
Slice 6 of the potatoes on a mandoline (see Notes) into very thin slices (about 1/8 inch), using the blade guard to protect your fingers. Arrange the potato slices on their sides in concentric circles around the oiled baking dish. You can save the smaller end pieces for the center. If your dish isn’t full from the 6 potatoes, slice and add an additional potato or two. The dish needn’t be packed tight—just enough so the potatoes stand upright.
Brush the potatoes evenly with the butter, pushing the brush between the slices to coat them thoroughly, then cover tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, flour, salt, ginger, and pepper. Set aside.
After 40 minutes, remove the foil from the potatoes and sprinkle them evenly with the brown sugar mixture. Bake uncovered until the sauce is bubbling and the top is crisp and browned, another 30 to 40 minutes. For extra browning, run the pan briefly under a broiler, about 3 inches from the heating element (watch closely, as it can burn). Serve warm.