I had this Creme Caramel here in Italy and couldn't believe it was made with sweet potato. It always comes out well, it's easy and quick to make and I am still wondering how on earth they came up with this idea. So if you like Creme Caramel, give this one a go. —Maria Teresa Jorge
peeled and washed sweet potato, preferably orange
Pre-heat the oven to 300 degrees F with rack in the middle. Prepare a tray with water for the bain marie with boiling water. Set aside 6 individual molds.
Put the cream in a pan over low heat, open the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds. Put everything in the cream, bring to the boil and remove from the heat. Let infuse.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice the sweet potato in medium thick slices and put in the oven to roast for 30 minutes. Let cool.
In a food processor or with a hand held immersion blender, cream the roasted sweet potato with half the cream. Add the remainder cream and process until very smooth. Add the sugar and the Cointreau and process again. Keep scarping the sides with a rubber spatula so all the sweet potato gets creamed. Add the beaten eggs just pulsing 4 or 5 times so not to overwork the eggs otherwise you end up with a souffle like pudding.
Strain the cream through a sieve into a pouring jug to remove any fibers.
Making the caramel: Put the 3.6 ounces of sugar and the 1 tablespoon of water in a saucepan and place it over a medium heat. Leave it like that, without stirring, until the sugar begins to melt and turn liquid around the edges, 4-6 minutes. Give the pan a shake. lower the heat and leave it again to melt until about a quarter of the sugar has melted.
Using a wooden spoon, give it a gentle stir and continue to cook and stir until the sugar has completely melted and is the colour of dark honey – 5- 7 minutes.
Quickly pour some caramel into each mold, tipping it round the base and sides to coat.
Fill the molds to 3/4 with the custard, put in the baking tray with the boiling water taht should come to 2/3 of the height of the moulds and cook in the oven in the bain marie for 40 minutes until the top is golden, the outside is set but still a little wobbly in the middle. Remove from the oven and from the water bath, and leave to cool.
Cover with plastic wrap and rchill for 4 to 6 hours (or overnight) before serving.
Gently loosen the side of the crème caramel with a non serated knife and invert on a serving dish. The puddings will fall out with the caramel sauce. Garnish with mint leaves. Great dessert to make ahead.