a friendsgiving: part two

Last weekend, we hosted an impromptu Friendsgiving. It was my first time putting together a Thanksgiving table of any kind, and it was so much fun!


| s a l a d | Bosc pear, shaved Parmesan, balsamic vinegar & olive oil | b r e a d | Thanksgiving stuffing rolls | m a i n | Jamie Oliver's chicken in milk | s i d e (a.k.a. d e s s e r t) | maple-brown butter sweet potato casserole, with thyme marshmallows

This sweet potato casserole is the dessert-disguised-as-a-side decadence of my dreams. My favorite part is the homemade thyme marshmallows -- the floral, herbal tones from the thyme cut through the sugar for a lively, sweet-yet-slightly-savory topping for the sweet potatoes. And underneath, based on a recipe by BraveTart at Serious Eats, the sweet potatoes are dressed simply but fantastically, with brown butter, maple syrup and a sprinkling of thyme and salt. They're easy to throw together, yet full of warm, complex flavors. Topped with marshmallows and briefly broiled, the result is sticky, gooey, caramelized heaven. Here's how to make them.

for the thyme marshmallows

1 cup water 7-8 sprigs thyme confectioners’ sugar for dusting (at least 1/2 cup; alternatively, use half cornstarch and half confectioners’ sugar) 3 envelopes (about 3 scant tbsp) unflavored gelatin 2 cups granulated sugar 1/2 cup Karo light corn syrup 1/4 tsp salt

to make

1. Combine water and thyme in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 1-2 minutes, then remove from heat and place in the refrigerator, covered, to chill until cold. 2. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking dish or pan and dust generously with confectioners’ sugar, or a mixture of half confectioners’ sugar and half cornstarch. In addition, grease a heat-proof spatula and set it aside within easy reach, for later. 3. In a large bowl, place 1/2 cup of the thyme-infused water and sprinkle gelatin over it to let the gelatin soften. In a medium, heavy-bottomed pot, cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup of thyme-infused water over medium heat. Stir just until sugar is dissolved, then let the mixture simmer, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, or about 12 minutes. 4. When the syrup reaches the right temperature, remove pan immediately from heat. Start an electric or stand mixer on low in the gelatin mixture and pour sugar mixture slowly into the gelatin. When all the syrup is added, beat the mixture on high speed until the mixture is white, thick, and almost tripled in volume, about 6 minutes with a stand mixer and up to 10 with an electric mixer. 5. Using the greased spatula, pour the mixture into your dusted baking pan and smooth it out as best you can. Sift confectioners’ sugar generously over the top. Once it’s well-powdered, you can use your fingers to press the mixture into the pan if you need to. Let marshmallow set until fully cool, at least an hour and up to a day in advance. 6. When you’re ready, run a knife around the edges of the baking pan and invert the marshmallow onto a large cutting board. You may need to help loosen it in certain spots. With a well-oiled knife or pizza cutter, cut marshmallow into cubes the size of your choice. Dust generously with more confectioners’ sugar (or roll the marshmallows through confectioners’ sugar in the empty baking pan) to make sure all cut sides are coated, then set aside.

for the sweet potatoes

6-8 sweet potatoes 1/4 tsp salt 3 tbsp butter 2-3 sprigs thyme 2 tbsp maple syrup (or more, to taste)

to make

1. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut into quarters. Steam, boil, or bake the potatoes until a fork slides through with no resistance. 2. Melt the butter with the thyme in a small saucepan over medium heat until butter crackles, turns a rich brown, and smells nutty. Turn off the heat, remove thyme, and whisk in the maple syrup. 3. When the potatoes are done, mash with a fork, potato masher, or food mill. Drizzle the maple butter over the potatoes and mix again to combine. For extra silky sweet potatoes, use a handheld mixer or immersion blender to finish. 4. Smooth the sweet potato mixture into a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or 8×8 baking dish, and place, covered, in a warm place or oven set to low heat until ready to serve. The homemade marshmallows will not hold up in an oven over time, so you will need to wait until just before serving to assemble.

to assemble

When you’re ready to serve, turn the oven to broil. Optionally, sprinkle a few more thyme leaves across the potatoes. Add the marshmallows in an even layer over the top, and slide it under the broiler. Broil until the marshmallows toast to a golden brown, with some darker edges (or a bit burnt, if you prefer!) Keep a close eye on them -- it should only take a few minutes. When they’re nicely toasted, remove and serve!


For the Part 1 and the recipe for Thanksgiving stuffing rolls, see @tworedbowls. Thank you so much for reading!

| T R B | http://tworedbowls.com recipe inspired by | BraveTart l i n e n s | Fog Linen, Nell & Mary c e r a m i c s | Akiko Graham, The Fortynine Studio

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