Make Your Own Marshmallow Fluff for the Best Yam
I’ve never needed marshmallows on my yam (or sweet potatoes, whichever tuber you use). Sweet potatoes and the like are sweet enough – the name says – and adding a cloud of fried sugar and gelatin to them has always seemed a little overkill (though not undesirable).
But if you make your own marshmallow fluff – essentially a meringue with boiled syrup added – two things change. First, you can skip gelatin to keep your yams vegetarian. (I always feel bad when vegetarians can’t eat vegetables on Thanksgiving.) You can add other flavors as well. I use this recipe from Epicurious as a base and then tweak it with additives. For example, freshly grated ginger imparts a pleasantly spicy fresh scent, offering a counterbalance to all that sweetness. I also like to add a little bourbon instead of vanilla extract because I’m very sassy about that. If you don’t like fresh ginger, you can also add citrus zest, cinnamon, cardamom, or anything else that you think would go well with yams. (You can also combine any of the above, you are absolutely crazy.)
Making fluff with your own hands is not difficult, but it requires some equipment. You will need a thermometer and a mixer, but nothing more. By ingredients you will need:
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 glass of water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/4 teaspoon of tartar
- 1/4 teaspoon bourbon
- 3 teaspoons fresh ginger
Measure out all the ingredients and cook the pinkie as you don’t want to separate the egg whites in a saucepan with syrup simmering on the stove. (If you need to use yolks, try curing them .) Combine the corn syrup, one cup of water, and sugar in a medium saucepan over medium to high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Attach an ice thermometer or digital thermometer to the pan. Let the syrup simmer and cook, without stirring, until the thermometer reads 238 ° F, occasionally wiping the pan with a damp baking brush to keep the sugar crystals from sticking to the sides.
While the syrup is simmering, add the egg whites, tartar and bourbon to the bowl of a mixer equipped with a whisk. When the thermometer in your syrup reaches 230 ° F, beat the egg whites on medium speed until stiff peaks form. When the syrup reaches 238 ° F, add the ginger to the egg whites, then gently pour the syrup over the sides of the mixing bowl, whisking until the marshmallows are shiny and thick, about five minutes. Spread it over the sweet potato – I love making mine in quick cook – and place it under the roasting pan for about a minute to brown it. If you want a smooth, even filling, apply the mixture to the sweet potato immediately, as it gets more difficult to spread by the minute. (If necessary, you can microwave it for 10 seconds to soften it.)
You can make the nap the day ahead, just keep it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. (Be careful, plastic wrap will stick to it.) Cook in the microwave at 10-second intervals until it smudges, then spread it over the sweet potato and grill as described above.