Savory Sweet Potato Crumble

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Growing up, we had sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows more times than I can count. They were so decadent and over the top, and while I will never complain about having marshmallows for dinner (the goal was always to end up with as much of the topping and as few of the sweet potatoes on our plates as possible) the sweet potatoes got a little lost under all that sugar.

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I wanted to come up with a recipe for sweet potatoes that were every bit as decadent as the ones my brothers and I loved as kids, but with a more interesting and savory flavor profile for Thanksgiving. This Savory Sweet Potato Crumble hits all those marks – and let’s just say, it goes a lot better with turkey and gravy than marshmallows do.

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The crumble is made with walnuts, flour, fresh sage, brown sugar, Parmesan, a touch of heat from crushed pepper flakes, and of course, a generous amount of butter. It’s essentially a mash-up of Thanksgiving stuffing and a cheesy bread crumb topping. The potatoes underneath are creamy and studded with shallots caramelized in brown butter. Together, the crisp, savory crumble and slightly sweet, oniony potatoes are a winning pair, and you won’t believe how much the house smells like pure Thanksgiving when this dish is in the oven. It is the kind of smell Yankee Candles aspire to, and one that can only truly exist when a pan of something homemade and delicious is bubbling away in the oven.

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Whether you’re cooking for the big night next week, or are in need of a great last minute recipe for your Friendsgiving this weekend, these sweet potatoes are a real showstopper and definitely not your average side dish. (And they don’t just have to be for Thanksgiving, either!)

Savory Sweet Potato Crumble

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs sweet potatoes, scrubbed (6 medium)
  • 2 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 6 large)
  • 9 tbsp (1 stick + 1 tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
  • 4 tbsp light brown sugar, divided
  • 1 ½ cups finely chopped walnuts
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, divided
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • kosher salt

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Prick the potatoes several times with the tines of a fork, and bake for 1 hour, or until tender when tested with a knife. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat 4 tbsp of the butter in a medium (10 inch) sauté pan. Cook the butter over medium-low heat for three minutes, watching carefully, until brown flecks begin to form. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and add the shallots and 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar. Cook over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are tender and lightly browned.  Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine the walnuts, flour, Parmesan, sage, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes, 2 tbsp of the brown sugar, the remaining 5 tbsp butter, and 1 tsp salt. Using your fingers, pinch the mixture together to form large crumbles. Set aside.
  5. Peel the potatoes and place the flesh in a large mixing bowl, discarding the skin.  With a hand mixer on low speed or a potato masher, beat the potato mixture until smooth. Fold in the shallot mixture, the remaining tablespoon of brown sugar, the milk, ¼ tsp red pepper flakes and 2 tsp salt and combine.
  6. Transfer to a large, shallow baking dish.  Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the potatoes and bake for 30 minutes, until the crumble is browned and the potatoes are heated through. Serve hot.

Easy Apple Hand Pies

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Last weekend I went up to Hudson, New York with my boyfriend, Joe, and some friends, for a little leaf peeping and obligatory Instagramming.  We ended up being there just in time, as a big storm came and took most of the leaves down, but not before we had a perfect fall day. (See photos of friends drinking cider while wearing hats.)  For me, a perfect fall day includes a little seasonal baking project, but it does not include spending the a beautiful October day in the kitchen.

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I had ambitions to make an apple pie, but without my usual kitchen setup, and without feeling like taking on the ordeal of making homemade pie crust, I decided to use store bought puff pastry to make these Easy Apple Hand Pies instead. Ina uses puff pastry for everything from delicate tarts to savory hors d’oeuvres to empanadas- it’s buttery and flaky and SO easy to work with. All you have to do is defrost it, unfold the sheets, roll ’em out, and you’re ready to go. In a pinch, I even used a wine bottle to roll out the puff pastry sheets. Turns out it works just as well, minus the floury wine label.

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These pies deliver all of the warm apple and cinnamon goodness of a traditional apple pie but take about an hour to make, from start to finish. There’s also a serious “wow factor”- individual pies are impressive, and it’s your choice whether or not to admit how easy they were to make. They travel well and are great warm or at room temperature, but since people aren’t really eating hand pies on the go very often, I highly recommend serving them warm with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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Michelle and Tom drink cider and eat pies.
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Winkie ponders whether there are actual cats in the Catskills.

Easy Apple Hand Pies

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tbs unsalted butter
  • 3 crisp apples, such as Macoun or Jonagold, cored and cut into ¾” dice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 2 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbs all purpose flour
  • 1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, defrosted
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tbs water, for egg wash
  • 1 tbs turbinado sugar, such as Sugar in the Raw

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the apples, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt and cook for 10 minutes over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the apples have softened and released their juices.
  3. Meanwhile, combine the lemon juice and flour in a small bowl and stir to the dissolve the flour.
  4. Remove the apples from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and flour mixture. Pour the apple mixture into a medium bowl and set aside to cool while you prepare the pastry.
  5. Unfold one sheet of puff pastry on a floured cutting board. Roll the sheet into a 12-inch square with a rolling pin. With a sharp paring knife, cut four 5-inch circles from the pastry, using a dish as a guide and discarding the scraps.
  6. Place ¼ cup of the filling on one side of each circle, leaving a border around the edge of each circle. Brush the edges of the circles with the egg wash and fold over, making half circles. Crimp the edges together with the tines of a fork. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry. Place pies on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper, and chill for 15 minutes. Brush with the egg wash, sprinkle with the turbinado sugar, and make 3 small slits in each pie to allow steam to escape. Bake for 20 minutes, until puffed and golden brown.
  7. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or at room temperature.