I usually don't swoon over dessert, especially in home cooking. My standards are seasonal fruit and fresh whipped cream, whisked in a copper bowl: a group effort from the dining collective. Root beer floats are another go-to for hot weather. If I'm really lazy, it's single-origin dark chocolate to pair with a beautiful old-world red.
Except when it comes to Thanksgiving, I usually side with purists, who focus on apple, pumpkin, and pecan pies (though apparently Key lime is in the purist lexicon here).
Then I sampled the best Thanksgiving dessert ever conceived a couple of weeks ago at 1500 Degrees at Eden Roc: sweet-potato pie with marshmallow meringue. I usually don't even care for sweet potatoes, but this? I dream of chef Paula DaSilva's dessert. It is sublime.
1 C graham cracker crumbs/1/4 C light brown sugar/4 oz melted butter
ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well until crumbs hold together when
balled into a fist. Spread evenly into a 9-inch pie tin and bake at 350
degrees for 10 minutes. Cool before adding filling.
sweet potatoes/1 egg/2 t cinnamon/2 T maple syrup/4 oz butter/1 1/2 C
brown sugar/1 t vanilla extract/1/2 t nutmeg/3 oz heavy cream 1/3 C
all-purpose flour/pinch of salt
Peel, cut and boil potatoes
until soft. Drain and mash well with a hand blender. Add butter and
sugar and blend until combined. Sift together dry ingredients and add
them in two stages, alternating with cream and syrup. Scrap sides after
each addition. Pour into the 9-inch tin and bake for 40 minutes at 350
degrees. Let it come to room temperature when it's finished, then cover
Homemade Marshmallow Fluff
3 egg whites/2 C light corn syrup/1/2 t salt/2 C confectioner's sugar/1 T vanilla extract
a large bowl, combine egg whites, corn syrup, and salt. Mix with the
mixer on high speed for ten minutes, until it thickens. Add in
confectioners sugar and beat on low speed until well blended. You're
looking for glossy peaks when it's done.
Spread meringue over
top of cold pie, mounding slightly in center and swirling with knife to
create peaks if you wish. Bake pie at 400 degrees --just until peaks and
ridges of marshmallow meringue are lightly browned, about 4 minutes. Let stand at room temperature until meringue is cool.
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If you want to cheat on the Fluff, see the variation here.