I tried a handful of sweet potato recipes in the past couple of weeks and this is the one that will have a place on our table this Thanksgiving. The sweet potatoes are baked in the oven until tender, then pureed in the food processor with cream, butter, and vanilla until smooth and creamy. It comes together easily and has bonus points for being able to be made ahead of time. I love the little flecks of vanilla dotted throughout the bright orange sweet potato and it really adds something special to the flavor.
This can be made a day in advance, refrigerated, and reheated in the oven until warm.
Vanilla beans are available in the spice section of most large grocery stores, but usually only have 1-3 crammed inside a small jar for an expensive price. I usually order mine on Amazon in bulk, since I go through them so quickly. Make sure you pack them in an airtight container to keep the beans from drying out and in a dark cabinet: Premium Bourbon-Madagascar Vanilla Beans – 16 beans JR Mushrooms brand.
Vanilla Bean Whipped Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from Food and Wine (Gerry Hayden)
4 pounds medium sweet potatoes
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 vanilla bean
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place sweet potatoes on large rimmed baking sheet.
Poke each sweet potato a few times with a fork and bake in preheated oven until tender through the center, 35-45 minutes. Allow to cool until able to handle.
Peel and place sweet potatoes in large food processor. Process until smooth.
In a small saucepan, place cream and butter over medium heat. Whisk in seeds from half the vanilla bean and add the pod to the cream. Once simmering, remove from heat and discard the vanilla bean.
Turn on the food processor with pureed sweet potatoes and slowly pour in the cream. Add any vanilla bean seeds that remain in the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.