Baked Sunday Mornings: Sweet Potato Tart with Gingersnap Crust and Heavenly Meringue

Oh, sweet potato tart, how much do I love thee? This is the third time that I've made the "Sweet Potato Tart with Gingersnap Crust and Heavenly Meringue" from Baked Occasions, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

This tart takes time -- especially if you make your own gingersnaps for the crust -- but none of the steps is difficult. I did bake my own gingersnaps, and I'll be writing about the gingersnap recipe in a separate blog post soon. I made the gingersnaps a day in advance and was able to finish the tart in a very long baking session the following evening.

The first thing I did on the second day was the roast the sweet potatoes. I used two large jewel sweet potatoes and it took about 80 minutes in the oven for them to become tender all the way through. While I was waiting for the potatoes to cool, I made the crust by grinding gingersnap cookies in the food processor to fine crumbs, and adding brown sugar, salt, and melted butter. Recently I've come to appreciate the look of straight-sided tarts, so I pressed the crust into a 9-inch cake pan with a loose bottom. I baked the tart crust until it was set.

I was too impatient to wait for the potatoes to cool completely, so while they were still warm I peeled off the skins, put chunks in the food processor, blended them until smooth, and added a little water to thin out the puree. I had some extra sweet potato left over; the weight of the two cups of puree I needed for the tart was 465 grams. The puree was perfectly creamy (I thought) and had a brilliant bright orange color. I transferred the puree to my stand mixer and added evaporated milk, eggs, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and a little melted butter. I was a little bummed that after adding the brown sugar and spices, the puree lost its vibrant color and became a muddier shade of brownish-orange.

I poured the puree into the partially baked crust and put the tart in the oven. The cookbook says that you should bake it for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. This time I had to bake the tart for 40 minutes until it was cooked through, and the last time I made the tart it took 45 minutes. This is pretty consistent with my experience with Baked cookbooks, where I commonly have to bake items for longer than the recipe specifies.
I let the tart cool completely before making the meringue. The topping is Swiss meringue that you make by whisking egg whites and sugar in a double boiler until they reach 140 degrees, taking the eggs off the heat, beating them with cream of tartar to stiff peaks, and adding vanilla. I spread the meringue on the tart -- leaving the outer perimeter of sweet potato filling exposed -- and browned it with a butane kitchen torch. I stuck the tart in the fridge and served it the next day.
The tart released easily from the sides pan, although I left the tart on the bottom pan insert for serving. It sliced easily and the filling was neat, but the interior of the meringue was soft and floppy -- it drooped over the edge of some of the slices. I love this tart. It's very flavorful without being heavy at all. The three distinct components of this tart -- the buttery cookie crust, the creamy filling, and the airy toasted meringue -- combine to form one outstanding dessert.

If I had one complaint, it was that the bottom crust was a little soft. In the future I might seal the hot crust with a little egg white after baking. And I would also be a bit more meticulous about making sure that the potato puree was completely smooth -- there were a few small lumps in the finished filling that you could easily make out because of their bright orange color. But these small imperfections hardly matter -- this tart is perfect for Thanksgiving or any occasion.

Recipe: "Sweet Potato Tart with Gingersnap Crust and Heavenly Meringue" from Baked Occasions by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

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Louise said…
I've never had sweet potatoes other than as a starch. My current favorite is a Ottolenghi twist on roasted sweet potatoes with bitter orange marmalade. Looks like I should give this a try.