Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Candied Yams

Sweet potatoes or yams.  What is the difference? Is there a difference?  According to the facts I got from watching Martha Stewart I finally got my answer.  It's been a question I've had for a long time.  One of those things my inquiring mind has been wanting to know. Well, the facts are that sweet potatoes are potatoes.  They're from the Morning glory family.  I would never have considered potatoes of the same family as Morning Glories, in the Convolovuleae group, which have tuberous roots.  Yams are related to lilies and grasses. They are starchier, harder, and paler in color than sweet potatoes.  So now you know.   

Which brings me to another dish I prepare early in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner, Candied Yams. I found this recipe way back in 1996 online and I'm sorry I don't know who to give credit to for it.  It is one of the few recipes that I haven't really altered much except for one huge change.  The recipe is called Sweet Potato Streusel.  I use yams.  It's so easy and delicious. 

I usually do a 9"x13" dish of yams but lately the tastes of people are evolving and more of my guests are enjoying the yams.  That means I need to make more so I can have some leftovers.  

I start out by washing the yams and placing them on a baking sheet.  Very simple and quick.  Place the baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on size of yams.  Try and get yams that are all similar in size.  They will cook more evenly this way.  

Once they are fork tender pull them out of the oven and let them cool for a bit.

It will make it easier to handle when you peel them.  Ignore the old, veiny hands.  Can you believe that earlier this year I had a stewardess tell me that I had nice hands and that I could be a hand model?!?!?  Who was she kidding? 

After they have been peeled, slice them into your baking dish.

The next step requires pancake syrup and orange juice.

 Pancake syrup and orange are like oil and vinegar.  They just don't blend on their own.  Whisk up a 1/2 cup pancake syrup with 1/3 cup orange juice.  If you're doing a 9"x13" baking dish you will need to double this amount.  Pour the syrupy juice over the yams.

Add pats of butter on top of the yams and at this point I am pretty much done with the yams.  I cover them with a piece of plastic wrap and put them into the freezer.

I could wait to do this next step later or on the day of Thanksgiving but I figure the less I have to do on the actual day the better and since I'm already thinking yams I go ahead and finish the prep work for them. 

I pull out my butter, flour, cinnamon, and brown sugar to make the streusel topping.
Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until it is about the size of a pea.  I wasn't done cutting the butter into the dry ingredients so the chunks are still pretty big.

Store in a plastic container in the refrigerator until needed  for the actual baking of the candied yams on Thanksgiving day.

If you don't have to worry about your guest with allergies you can add chopped pecans to the streusel.

On Thanksgiving morning I take the yams out of the freezer to thaw.  When the turkey is out of the oven and resting I slip in the yams to heat up, add the streusel, heat some more , and serve.

3 1/2 pounds medium-size sweet potatoes or yams
3/4 cup maple-flavor pancake syrup
1/3 cup orange juice
1 Tablespoon butter.
1/4 Cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter or margarine
1/3 cup pecans, chopped coarse

Heat oven to 350 F. Place yams on shallow baking sheet and bake until fork tender.

Peel and slice cooled yams.  Arrange sliced in baking dish overlapping slices slightly.

Mix 1/2 cu of the pancake syrup with the orange juice.  Pour over yams.  Dot with butter.  Cover tightly with foil.

Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until hot and yams have absorbed some liquid.

TOPPING: Mix flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a medium-size bowl.  Cut in butter with 2 knives or pastry cutter until the mixture resembles very coarse crumbs.  Stir in pecans.  Refrigerate if making ahead.

Remove yams from oven.  Uncover and sprinkle with Topping.  Bake uncovered 15 minutes or until topping is bubbly and lightly browned.  Pour on remaining 1/4 cup pancake syrup.  Serve immediately. 

30 Days of Thanks Living: After associating with O.R. nurses just recently and nurses in doctor offices again I want to say thank you to them and the comfort they offer to the patients they serve.  I'm glad I had the chance to tell them personally how much I appreciate them.

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