Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sweet potato custard


On Saturday nights, the Bear and I have an at-home date, after the children have gone to bed. Both small Bears are in bed by 7:30 every evening, including the weekends. They go without complaint; they both like to sleep. Yes, we know we are fortunate. We have had our Saturday dates almost as long as we've been parents and we really need them. Occasionally, we go out to eat by ourselves on those nights, if the Bear's parents are free to stay at our house while we're gone. But we mostly stay home and we enjoy that very much. I make a simple dinner (once in awhile, we'll have take-out), we watch a movie or catch up on whatever TV series we're watching (usually on Netflix), maybe have a drink, and just relax. We look forward to it every week.

The cooking part is a pleasure for me. I often make two dinners on Saturdays, one for them and one for us. I try to keep their dinner simple, to avoid undue stress on date night. Our Saturday afternoons are almost always spent at home together, as we work on things around the house and try to relax when we can. This means I have plenty of time to putter in the kitchen and make both dinners. We usually have dessert on Saturdays; I make simple but special treats for the small Bears, while the grown-ups usually have something frozen that I purchase during the week.

This past weekend, I created a dish that I served as a side with their meal (they also had veggie corn dogs and peas), but it could be eaten as a dessert. I'm calling it "sweet potato custard" because that's what it is; I took inspiration from pumpkin pie filling, with its mashed squash, milk, egg and sugar. I used leftover baked sweet potatoes we'd eaten the night before; sweet potato pie is delicious and quite distinct from pumpkin pie. But this dish is crustless, so it wouldn't be accurate to call it a pie. It's just the custard part, baked in a dish until browned on top. It developed a slight crustiness on the top and edges, almost like a cake, but stayed softer in the middle. The small Bears enjoyed it and I thought it was tasty too. It reminded me of making their baby food, starting with mashed fruits and vegetables thinned with breastmilk or water for the first few weeks after they started solid foods. Once in awhile, I would bake pureed squash or sweet potatoes with a dash of cinnamon, just for a change of pace. This was a bit like that.

Ingredients

2 medium-sized baked, cooled sweet potatoes, jackets removed
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup milk (I used regular milk but you could use evaporated)
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon






Method

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

After removing jackets from sweet potatoes, break up the flesh with your fingers in a medium bowl. You can also use a potato masher to break up the larger bits. Add brown sugar, egg and milk, whisk or stir until blended.

Spoon the mixture into a greased baking dish (I used a 1-quart Corningware dish sprayed with Pam), smooth the surface with a spatula. Sprinkle with cinnamon and dot with butter (I cut mine into four small pieces).

Bake for 20-25 minutes until brown on top.



This made four child-size portions but you can adjust the amounts according to the number of servings you need, and ingredients can be adjusted to taste; I wanted to keep it healthy as a side-dish, so I kept the sugar and butter minimal, but more could only be better here, I think (from a tastiness standpoint, as opposed to a healthfulness one, of course).

The small Bears ate it up and enjoyed the leftovers the next day. It's nice to know it worked and that they enjoyed it; now I have a go-to recipe to use up leftover baked sweet potatoes. I always seem to bake more than we eat, but they're so easy and quick to do. Baked in a custard is a happy end for them. I hope you'll enjoy this dish too.

31 comments:

  1. It looks delicious. Lovely to hear about your Saturdays too!xx

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  2. I like the idea of date night

    Leanne xx

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  3. How lovely to spend this special time together. Great that you've found something to use up the leftovers, especially when it's something which everyone likes.

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  4. Ooh! We have our alone meal on a Friday, at the moment. But the kids are aged 15,13 and 11 so we are fast approaching the point where we eat at 10 or later...
    Enjoy these evenings. They make a big difference to a couple, a chance to be yourselves together. And the sweet potato pie looks good.

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  5. I'm so giving your recipe a go! I love sweet potatoes. Looks like I could manage not to burn it hehe x

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  6. We used to have date nights when the kids were younger, but they're all grown up now and only one still lives at home. So when we go out for the evening now, we call them our grown up date nights.
    I love sweet potatoes, so definitely going to give that ago.
    Sally xxx

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  7. Looks delicious Jennifer. At the inn where we stayed there were two american ladies and one of them told us of a dish using marshmallows and sweet potatoes, have you ever heard of that one? I cant imagine what it must taste like but they assured us it was delicious!

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    Replies
    1. Yes, that's a very popular Thanksgiving dish here. I have had it and it was good - but very, very sweet.

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  8. The sweet potatoes look great Jennifer and would be a good way of using any that you had baked and had left over wouldn't they. Hope you enjoy your date nights. It is nice to have these things to look forward to!

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  9. I'd be tempted to sprinkle some oatmeal, butter, flour, sugar mixture over the top ... but the way you've prepared it is great for kids. Warm desserts are always welcome at this time of year :) Wendy x

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  10. Congrats on making time for hubby and you, that is how people keep their marriage close. You're such a healthy cook! I bet that sweet potato dish was yummy!! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  11. I love sweet potatoes,and good on you having regular date nights.

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  12. Good on you for keeping some time for yourselves! :) x

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  13. This looks so nice Jennifer, and it's nice to make time for yourself. We used to do exactly the same, but it dwindled out when baby three came along and it all got a bit hectic! We are determined to start again soon though, it is really important. :)))

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  14. Looks delicious. Lucky you having children that like to sleep! Actually I can't complain, mine are very good too. Nice to have a lovely Saturday afternoon and evening at home, it all sounds wonderful.

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  15. It's nice that you make time just for you and your husbands - it must be very special and a great way to re-connect after busy days. I don't think I have ever tried sweet potato pie. It looks delicious!

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  16. Mmmmm sweet potatoes are a great choice for everybody - healthy, and of course, sweet! I have a recipe for sweet potato muffins that I make in the mini size for our grandkids. The year old twins just gobble them up! I will try your recipe after the weather gets cold and I have the kids here all day long. Thanks!

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  17. Looks delicious! I love sweet potatoes. :) Date nights are the best!

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  18. Sounds great, I like the sound of your date nights also.

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  19. That looks like a lovely dessert Jennifer - with lots of lovely healthy fibre too. Good to hear you are still having your weekly dates - so important and special - and good for children to learn that parents also have needs.
    Happy days to you and yours!
    Joy x

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  20. My boyfriend and I also have date nights...in the dining room!
    We started that about 35 years ago...when the kids were small...
    Our night was Friday...and they would also get a treat...McDonalds or a pizza!
    We would have a "grown-up" dinner...like lamb...
    Our Saturdays were usually spent at the arena, as my son played hockey, as well as my boyfriend coached for over 40 years..
    Ahhh...those were the good old days!
    That custard looks darn good!
    I just love reading your posts, Jennifer...I feel like I am right there with you and the 3 bears!!!

    Enjoy your evening...
    Is it still raining down there?

    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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  21. I'm so glad to hear you've kept up the dates, Linda! No, it's not raining anymore. It stopped on Sunday. Thanks for asking. :)

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  22. That looks so good! I love anything with sweet potatoes :)

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  23. You had me at Brown Sugar and Sweet Potato - delicious! Love your Date Nights. Our Kids are all in bed by 7/7.30 too so we enjoy our evenings together. So important to make special time for each other. Have a lovely week! Mel xxx

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  24. Time together is very important and special and love your date night ☺

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  25. Such a lovely post Jennifer and love the idea if using up
    Leftovers food. This recipe sounds winderful I will definitely give it a whirl, thanks did sharing. I think it's so important to make time for each other and I love your idea of date night, it's great!! Enjoy your week xoxo

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  26. Both your at-home date nights and your sweet potato custard sound wonderful! Nothing like a relaxing evening with the one you love!

    Poppy

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  27. Wonderful post - good stuff for both adults and children! I love your date night ritual, I think we all need proper grown-up time to remember that we are a couple, not just parents! And we love sweet potatoes here, so I'm giving your recipe a go - both my girls were weaned on sweet potatoes, so I know they'll love it! Chrissie x

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  28. I love your weekly at-home date nights! It gives you something nice to look forward to all week. I love sweet potatoes too, so I know I would love this custard. I'll be trying this new recipe very soon!

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  29. You must be the best cook ~ YUM is the word.

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  30. I've never tried sweet potatoes or pumpkin cooked this way - it sounds more like dessert than vegetables! Very tempting. I wonder if my veggie-phobe Angus would eat it? I'll have to try it and find out. x

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