Wacky ice cream 1: Sweet potato

So taking advantage of my new ice cream maker, I’ve decided to revisit some weirdo flavors I’ve been experimenting with over the years, back when I was using my plan-way-ahead-of-time Krups ice cream maker. I thought, “Why not a series?” so here’s the first one.

I found a recipe for sweet potato ice cream in The Ultimate Ice Cream Book, but like all of Weinstein’s recipes, I modified it. (I often find his recipes sickeningly sweet, and at times even cut the sugar to a quarter of what he calls for.) I liked his idea of roasting the sweet potatoes so that they caramelize, so this is how I started my recipe.

For whatever reason, the normal grocery stores in Holland don’t seem to carry sweet potatoes, and when they do, it usually is the normal pale type rather than the sweeter bright orange varieties. Don’t quiz me on the variety names– I have no idea really, besides “orange” and “yellow”. So anyway, they carry sweet potatoes / yams at the big open market, but being too lazy to go down there, I picked some up at the regular store for like, 3 euros a pound or something ridiculous. But given that it was going toward ice cream, I figured that perhaps it was worth the cost.

I started with what is developing into my standard custard base and mixed in the sweet potato puree that the four-year-old kitchen helper made with a strainer. (He was bored, I wasn’t letting him watch TV or play Gameboy that afternoon, so what was a boy to do?) If you don’t have a four-year-old kitchen helper, don’t worry; you can use a food processor instead.

The result is a sweet ice cream that, for me, tastes like a cross between candied sweet potatoes and ube (purple yam). Those who eat it must be fans of sweet potatoes– if they aren’t, this recipe won’t convert them. But if you love candied yams, this will taste heavenly.

Making sweet potato puree– the old fashioned way

Sweet potato ice cream
makes about 1 quart

2 pounds (about 1 kilo) sweet potatoes, the kind with the orange flesh (not orange skin)
1 cup whole milk
1-1/2 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
4 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Scrub the sweet potatoes, arrange in a baking dish and bake for 1 hour, or until the potatoes are tender enough to put a skewer through easily. Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temp.
  2. Combine the eggs and sugar in a standing mixer. Beat until lightened in color and a ribbon forms.
  3. In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and cream to barely a simmer and slowly pour into the egg mixture, whisking the whole time to prevent the eggs from curdling. Transfer back into the saucepan.
  4. Stirring constantly over medium-low heat, bring the mixture to 180 degrees. (It’ll be thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon). Remove from heat and add the vanilla
  5. Peel the sweet potatoes. Add a pinch of salt, and using a sieve or a food processor, make a puree.
  6. Strain the custard into the sweet potato puree and make sure it’s well combined. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  7. Freeze according to the instructions on your ice cream maker. This ice cream tastes excellent with salted pecans!