Maple-orange Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Maple-orange mashed sweet potatoes are so good, it would be a mistake to wait until Thanksgiving to have these great mashed sweet potatoes. Forget about those overly sweet candied sweet potatoes with the little marshmallows. You know when you try a new food and it’s so good that when you put it in your mouth you close your eyes and just savor it?  This is that good.

Maple-Orange Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Cooks Illustrated.  Serves 4.

Cutting the sweet potatoes into slices of even thickness is important in getting them to cook at the same rate. A potato masher will yield slightly lumpy sweet potatoes; a food mill will make a perfectly smooth puree. The potatoes are best served immediately, but they can be covered tightly with plastic wrap and kept relatively hot for 30 minutes. This recipe can be doubled in a Dutch oven; the cooking time will need to be doubled as well.

4 T. unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
2 T. heavy cream
1/2 tsp. table salt
1 tsp. granulated sugar
2 lbs. sweet potatoes (about 2 large or 3 medium-small potatoes), peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices
pinch ground black pepper
2 T. maple syrup
1/2 tsp. grated orange zest

Combine butter, cream, salt, sugar, and sweet potatoes in 3 to 4 quart saucepan; cook, covered, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until potatoes fall apart when poked with fork, 35 to 45 minutes.

Off heat, mash sweet potatoes in saucepan with potato masher, or transfer mixture to hopper of food mill and process into warmed serving bowl. Stir in pepper, maple syrup, and orange zest; serve immediately.