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Sweet potato, apple, and sage spoon bread

Spoon bread is a pudding-like bread made with cornmeal; best served warm.

1 1/2 lbs. sweet potatoes, scrubbed, peeled [optional!] and cut into 1 1/2-inch dice

6 tbsp. butter
2 - 3 small apples, peeled [optional!] and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 C whole milk
1 tbsp. (packed) brown sugar
2 tsp. chopped fresh sage
2 tsp. coarse salt
1 C white cornmeal [I'm sure yellow would be okay too]
4 lg. eggs, separated
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

Cook sweet potato in pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain; transfer to a large bowl.


Melt 2 tbsp. butter in heavy medium skillet over medium heat. Add apple; saute until tender and golden, about 8 minutes. Add apple to sweet potato; mash together. Cool.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bring milk, sugar, sage, and salt to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low; gradually whisk in cornmeal. Cook until cornmeal absorbs milk and pulls clean from bottom of pan, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in 3 tbsp. butter. Whisk yolks in large bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in warm cornmeal mixture. Mix sweet potato mixture into cornmeal mixture. Beat egg whites in medium bowl to medium-stiff peaks. Fold whites into warm cornmeal mixture.


Melt 1 tbsp. butter in heavy large ovenproof skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Pour batter into skillet. Transfer skillet to oven; bake spoon bread until top is golden and puffed, about 1 hour. Serve warm.




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