Fall is almost here, the time when we see an influx of root vegetables and winter squash. Just about everywhere you look there’s an abundance of potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, carrots and more. For some reason as a kid I was always scared of sweet potatoes and marshmallows. I think it was a combination of the mixture of a somewhat savory item with the perfectly plopped cylinders on top. I was even more scared with the mini marshmallows. As I grew older I learned to appreciate that sweetness and saltiness can blend into a wonderful combination. I also learned that there is one thing that is even better than toasted marshmallow on top of a savory dish — homemade marshmallow fluff.
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Marshmallows are made by one of two methods: either with egg whites or gelatin. Each has its pros and cons; I prefer the gelatin. It lends better for drying out if you want to make individual marshmallows, not just fluff. It browns well, and if you feel like you overwhipped, underseasoned, or just want warm fluff another time, you can put it in the fridge and save it until you are ready. Just put the cool mixture back into the mixing bowl, make a water bath using a saucepan halfway filled with water and the mixing bowl. Once the mixture is liquid, put the bowl back onto the mixer with the whip attachment and whip until cool and fluffy.
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Sweet potato flesh can range from white to purple, the most common variety is orange. While we commonly eat the tuber root, the vine is seen in many decorative gardens. The starchiness of the sweet potato is very apparent in its raw form, but as it cooks, it breaks down and loses its shape with the slightest pressure once fully cooked. The recipe below calls for the potatoes to be peeled and diced before being cooked, it could just as easily be done cooking the whole sweet potato then scooping out the inside and mashing it. You could also try switching out the sweet potato for a winter squash like Butternut or Acorn.
If you can sauté potatoes and operate a stand mixer, you can make this dish. The fluff can be whipped by hand in a bowl, but it may take a bit longer. I do love the mixture of sweet potatoes and fluff, but find myself making the fluff for other desserts as well.
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