Sweet potatoes have been on my mind lately, possibly because they are commonly served during winter holiday meals or maybe because I am in the south, where sweet potatoes have been cultivated since the 16th century. In the southern States, sweet potatoes seem to be preferred over regular potatoes and due to their sweeter nature; they are found in a wide array of both savory and sweet dishes, including pies, casseroles, breads, stews and fries. Lately, I have come across sweet potato pancakes on menus and signs; at first I thought were similar to a European potato pancake using grated sweet potatoes as a base, which sounded delicious. However, I subsequently learned, in the south, they are referring to traditional breakfast pancakes, in which cooked mashed sweet potatoes are used in addition to the flour. I found baking the sweet potatoes before adding them to the pancakes, added a depth to the pancakes and created a rich sweet potato flavor in the finished product.
Sweet potatoes can be baked in advance. Sugar and spices can be adjusted to taste, depending upon personal preference.
1 lb sweet potatoes
2 c flour
2 ¼ c milk
¼ c butter, melted
4 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
½ tsp salt
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the whole sweet potatoes in the oven and bake until tender, 30-45 minutes. Remove from oven, cool slightly, peel and blend until smooth in a medium mixing bowl.
2. Add the dry ingredients to the blended sweet potatoes and thoroughly combine. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs and butter, add to the dry ingredients and potatoes, and gently fold to combine into a smooth batter.
3. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. Once heated, coat the griddle or skillet with oil. Drop about ¼ c of the batter on to the griddle or skillet, repeating until the griddle or skillet is full. Cook pancakes until bubbles appear on the surface, flip and cook until both sides are golden brown and pancakes are fully cooked. Repeat process with remaining batter.
4. Serve sweet potato pancakes warm with butter and maple syrup, if desired.