Saturday, November 26, 2016

Salted Caramel Pretzel Sweet Potato Casserole

Skip the candied yams...go straight for this salty sweet treat for Thanksgiving.  Using real fresh sweet potatoes instead of a canned yam makes a world of difference so don't just grab a yam, get the real deal even if it takes a couple of stores to find it.  You won't regret it.

To safe a few steps I cheated and bought a good quality caramel from the ice cream section at the groc.  One less thing to do on a busy day of cooking is a good thing.

Salted Caramel Pretzel Sweet Potato Casserole

  • 4 sweet potatoes (about 2 1/2-3 pounds)
  • 1/4 c cream
  • 1/4 c brown sugar
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1/2 t nutmeg


  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1/3 c butter
  • 1 c crushed pretzels
  • 2/3 c caramel sauce
  • flaked sea salt (like maldon)

Heat oven to 400F.  Poke holes into sweet potatoes with a fork and place on a baking sheet. Roast for about an hour until thickest potato is fork tender.  Cool to room temperature.

Once potatoes are cooled peel and place the pulp in a mixing bowl.   Add spices, cream and brown sugar.  Mash until smooth and even consistency.  Transfer into a lightly greased casserole dish.ds

Make the topping.  In a small sauce pan heat butter and brown sugar.  Stir over moderate heat until it starts to bubble and the sugar is completely dissolved.  Stir in pretzels until well coated.  Pour pretzel mixture over the sweet potatoes and spread to evenly distribute.  Drizzle caramel sauce evenly over pretzels.  

Bake in 350F oven uncovered until hot and bubbly for about 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle flaked sea salt over the hot caramel pretzels.  Serve hot with your Thanksgiving feast!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Fall Fruit Crisp

Apples, Pears, Cranberry and bad can it be?

The perfect ending for a wine and cheese night over at my cousins house.  Fall Fruit Crisp, a lovely combo of fresh fall fruit, the crunch of first harvest walnuts under a crispy crumble topping.  A universal hit, and using 1 cup ramekins you get perfect portion control.

You'll want to use firm fruit that is ripe like a Bosc pear instead of the softer Bartlett variety.  Similarly you'll want to use a firm ripe apple like a Fuji, Gala or Granny Smith over a softer Red or Golden Delicious.  The firm fruit holds its shape during baking, the softer cooks to mush and the texture is just wrong in this Fall Fruit Crisp.

Fall Fruit Crisp

  • 3 pears - peeled,cored and 1/2" dice
  • 3 apples - peeled, cored and 1/2" dice
  • 1/2 c dried cranberry
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 c chopped walnuts
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt


  • 1 c brown sugar
  • 3/4 c flour
  • 3/4 c quick cooking oats (not instant)
  • 1/4 c chopped walnuts
  • 1 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 salt
  • 1/2 c COLD unsalted butter cubed

Preheat oven 375F convection, 400F without convection

Peel, core and dice apples and pears.  Add to mixing bowl.  Add dried cranberry, walnuts, brown sugar, salt and spices.  Toss lightly to combine.  Set aside while making topping.

To make topping in food processor add all ingredients and pulse a few times until butter is evenly crumbled in the topping and you can't see large pieces any longer.

Take 6 ramekins and place on a baking sheet.  Divide fruit filling evenly among the ramekins.  Divide topping over the fruit filling evenly.  Place in preheated oven and bake until rich golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.  Serve warm with a dollop of fresh whipping cream.