I had several sweet potatoes in my pantry which were purchased for a particular purpose, but those plans got changed. So I was looking for a different way of preparing them when I saw this recipe in the March 2012 issue of Bon Appetit Magazine. It is for Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes with Bacon Sesame Brittle. It sounded intriguing because I love sweet potatoes, and bacon, of course. So, how could I go wrong? I thought I would try it to see for myself how good it is (or not) and let you know about my experience.
The recipe was very easy to make without requiring too much time or energy and the end result was delicious although unlike any sweet potato dish I had ever tried before. The bacon sesame brittle turned out surprisingly well and came together easily and quickly. It does take constant watching because after seeming to do nothing for so long, the sugar quickly melts and browns, so if the cook doesn’t watch it can easily burn and ruin, meaning you have to start afresh with the preparation of that part of the dish.
I did have a few issues with the recipe, however. First of all, the heading indicates it makes 8 Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes, but after reading the recipe it is clear it only makes 4.
Next, the first ingredient listed for the recipe calls for 4 slices of bacon, cut into 12 inch wide pieces. However, I have never seen bacon slices in the store that were even 12 inches long in the package. So, I am assuming here that this is a typo and the author meant 1/2 inch wide pieces, which makes better sense to me if they are to be broken up after incorporating in the brittle.
The recipe ingredient list calls for six sweet potatoes, however the instructions direct the cook to cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise, resulting in eight halves. That makes a total of four sweet potatoes according to my calculation, which is what I used.
Next the cook is to scoop out the flesh from four halves of the baked sweet potatoes leaving 1/2 inch in each skin then scoop the flesh out of the other four and discard the skin. Another indicator the recipe actually calls for four sweet potatoes.
I did not slice the sweet potatoes in half lengthwise like the recipe called for, but rather after baking them the first time snipped an oval out of the skin with kitchen scissors. If you look at the picture supplied with the recipe, it appears to me this is the method that was used in preparing this dish.
Although the recipe gives the temperature for baking the sweet potatoes the first time, it does not do so for the second baking. So, I assumed they were to be baked at the same temperature of 400 degrees.
Another issue that some might find difficult is being able to locate the miso called for in the recipe. I live in a large multicultural city with a proliferation of Asian Markets so that is not a problem for me, but it could be for some.
Also, the next time I make this recipe I think I will try using candied ginger instead of fresh (same quantity) and brown sugar for the brittle instead of the processed white sugar the recipe calls for.
Finally, the amount of bacon sesame brittle in this recipe is I think double what it needs. If you use four slices of bacon, that is one whole slice per sweet potato. Maybe I ended up with too much because I always purchase thick sliced bacon, but in viewing the picture of the final dish provided with the article, the amount of bacon sesame brittle crumbled over the top of each doesn’t look like it amounts to be from one whole slice of bacon. My recommendation is to only make half the bacon sesame brittle.
Overall this is a good dish. One of my tasters did not care for the bacon sesame brittle even though they are a big fan of bacon generally, perhaps because the concept of bacon in a dish normally considered to be sweet and in combination with the other ingredients was just too different for them.
I recommend this recipe and definitely plan on making it again, perhaps for a party, because the elements can be made ahead of time then assembled later. That is always helpful when trying to coordinate the preparation of a number of different dishes.