On a day like today, it is only fitting to celebrate the most important person in our lives. Make these Sweet Potatoes for Mom and she will be very happy - not only because they are delicious, but also they are good for you!
Sweet potatoes are native to Latin America, and they have been part of the Mexican diet for thousands of years. Their Spanish name, Camote, derives from the Nahuatl camotli, and they are either white or yellow-fleshed tubers.
By tradition, sweet potatoes are used for making candies, and Mexican cooks produce many different varieties of sweet potato treats, from crystallized sweet potatoes (sold whole or in thick slices), Camotes de Santa Clara (puréed and cooked with sugar syrup, then moulded into small cigar-shaped bars), baked or roasted.
In central Mexico, and especially in Mexico City, you can still find street vendors who have mobile wood ovens. These ovens are like a push cart, and the owners bake sweet potatoes and often plantains in these ovens. As they move slowly down the street, they emit loud, piercing whistles that announce they are around, so you can come out and buy their delicious treats.
These roasted camotes and plantains are simply served drizzled with condensed milk, jam, chocolate or honey. They are a simple but delicious treat, warm just out of the oven.
This traditional Mexican dessert is actually good for you, since sweet potatoes are a pretty healthy veggie. For my version of Camotes Asados, I have drawn from my memories of these treats I enjoyed as a child, and from the native flavour combinations of my hometown of Monterrey, where piloncillo and pecans are abundant and popular ingredients in the local gastronomy.
These camotes asados, roasted in a hot oven until tender and soft, served with melted butter and chopped piloncillo, then sprinkled with chopped pecans taste almost like pie, without the guilt of all the calories that come with pastry! And since they are so good for you, go ahead and drizzle some crema over the top.
Happy Mother's Day to all the beautiful, talented, special, multi-tasking Moms out there!
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Crema and Pecans
6 small sweet potatoes, scrubbed well
¾ cup crema
6 tsp unsalted butter
6 tsp chopped piloncillo or raw brown sugar
¾ cup chopped toasted pecans
Scrub sweet potatoes well, then place in a large saucepan and top with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Transfer sweet potatoes to a baking tray and bake in a pre-heated 350°F oven for another 20-30 minutes, or until they are tender and you can pierce them easily with the tip of a knife.To serve, cut each sweet potato open and top with butter. As butter melts, sprinkle piloncillo or brown sugar on top. Drizzle crema on top and garnish with toasted pecans. Sprinkle a little more piloncillo on top and serve immediately.
This recipe was first published at www.thelatinkitchen.com