october 18, 2017
It’s not the easiest thing to plan fall menus when the humidity and temperature are still elevated past September. The calendar, however, clearly shows autumn is in full swing and I am getting mentally prepared. Local summer produce has an inner time clock that tells production to halt making way for fall delights like squashes, sweet potatoes and hearty greens. There is change in the air. A stroll around my local farm stand with beautiful rusty-dusty sweet potatoes and fragrant multi-hued apples tumbling from bins and boxes can bring back my inspiration every time this season of bounty rolls around.
You may still be pining for summer, but I’m ready for thick sweaters, falling leaves, harvest moons and backyard fire pits. Let’s celebrate hot beverages, soups and stews and all things apple, all things sweet potato. Like Ginger Scallion Sweet Potatoes or Sour Cream Apple Crumble or Broccoli Apple Ale Soup or Ginger Cinnamon Applesauce or French Apple Pie or Sweet Potato Custard.
Today, I’m offering an easy dessert of peel, cut and bake. This brown sugar baked sweet potato and apple dish may not be the prettiest on the table, but it satisfies the need for sweet without a crust or crumb in sight. It’s sweet enough, but not too much, and a dollop of lightly honeyed Greek yogurt keeps that sweet factor in check. If dessert for you means cake, cookies or pie, feel free to spoon this warm dish over a slice of poundcake or shortbread cookie. I bet it would make a fine pie filing, too. My tester for this dessert thought the addition of sprinkled granola would add textural interest.
Skin is kept on the apples for color, flavor and texture. Stirring too vigorously during the bake time may turn your apple chunks excessively mushy, but I know from experience the taste will still be wonderful. Cook time will depend on the firmness of the apples; the market had first crop empire apples which have a burnished red exterior and a soft, pulpy interior when baked. Gala or fuji apples will yield a more solid apple chunk. This dish would be great for weekend brunch, especially with the Greek yogurt topping. Looking ahead to Thanksgiving, I see this dish as an extra dessert, or even a sweet potato side dish alongside the entree (you can decrease the brown sugar in this case). However you enjoy this simple dessert, you honor the first of autumn’s splendor.
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes 6-8 servings
one cup plain Greek Yogurt
1 tablespoon honey
14-16 ounces firm red apples (I used empire for this recipe), unpeeled and cut into eighths
1 ½ pounds sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
3 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
½ teaspoon kosher salt
- In small bowl, combine yogurt and honey.Chill until ready to use; may be made 2 days ahead.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Arrange apples and sweet potatoes in greased 9 X 13 oven proof casserole dish.
- Drizzle all with butter, then sprinkle brown sugar and kosher salt.
- Mix with clean hands or spatula and bake uncovered about 45 minutes to one hour, gently stirring with wooden spoon or spatula every 15 minutes (okay if apples begin to break down a little) until a light caramel sauce forms.
- Remove from oven and serve warmed or at room temperature with dollops of honeyed Greek Yogurt.