A family sweet potato recipe from a James Beard-nominated Asheville chef

By on December 11, 2020

When a James Beard nominee for Best Chefs in America from 2018 and 2019 endorses a sweet potato holiday recipe like the one below, you can’t help but want to try it. Chef Katie Button of Curate in Asheville prepares Brandied Sweet Potato Soufflé for her own family celebrations.

“This is a recipe that is my mother’s that we have been preparing in our family for as long as I remember,” said Button. “It most definitely is the very best holiday sweet potato recipe I have ever had. It falls in the savory/sweet land like the classic sweet potatoes and marshmallows but it’s a little more sophisticated. The texture is light, airy and fluffy. It isn’t as light as a traditional French souffle because it has sweet potatoes as the base texture, but folding the whipped eggwhites into the sweet potatoes lightens them up quite a bit. North Carolina is the largest producer in the country of sweet potatoes, so it feels right that living here, my favorite part of Thanksgiving is this preparation of our state’s iconic tuber.”

This recipe is a little different than what diners at her popular authentic Spanish cuisine restaurant in downtown Asheville have come to expect. Curate opened in 2011 in a former Asheville 1920s bus depot. The menu serves authentically prepared traditional Spanish tapas. Button has expanded to include La Bodega, also in Asheville, that offers casual lunch, takeout paella and Spanish specialty food products and wine. Items are available for in-store shopping, curbside pickup and nationwide shipping. For those that want to explore Spanish cuisine even more, there is also a Spanish Wine Club and Curate Trips that focus on culinary experiences in Spain, Portugal and Morocco.

Brandied Sweet Potato Souffle

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds sweet potatoes
  • ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 8 tablespoons butter unsalted and room temperature
  • 1 pack (8 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 6 large eggs, separated
  • ¼ teaspoons fresh nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ¼ cup brandy
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Scrub sweet potatoes and bake in oven until tender (about 1 hour). Cool, peel and puree in a food processor.
  • In the bowl of a standing mixer with paddle attachment, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar together.
  • Beat in egg yolks and sweet potatoes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go.
  • Add spices, cream and brandy. Continue to mix well, again scraping down the sides of the bowl.
  • Taste, add salt as desired, set aside.
  • Recipe can be made 1 day in advance up to this point, just bring mixture back to room temperature before egg white step.
  • Beat egg white until stiff in standing mixer and fold into potato mixture.
  • Pour into buttered 9×13 baking pan or similar.
  • Bake until hot and slightly puffed, 35 to 40 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and serve.

Chef Button suggests making sure sweet potatoes are extremely soft and tender after baking. When you poke them with a fork the fork should slide out easily, if there is any resistance, keep baking them. The softer the sweet potato is the better. Also, cream the butter, cream cheese and sugar together well, until light and fluffy, as it will be easier to incorporate the egg yolks and sweet potato into the mixture. If you whisk the yolks into the sweet potatoes first, add the egg yolk/sweet potato mixture a little bit at a time to the butter/cream cheese mixture to avoid lumps from forming.

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