I always try to bake to match the season. To me, it doesn’t make sense to to buy expensive fruits such as mangoes in January or to make chocolate desserts in the heat of the summer. If you enjoy each of the seasons and the fruits and vegetables that are available, then you can stay better in tune with the nature around you.
Sweet potatoes are easily available throughout the year in Japan, but to me they remind me of fall and winter. Many of the supermarkets in Japan have a display of sweet potatoes at the entrance of the vegetable section and they also usually have warm baked ones available for sale. The smell of warm baked sweet potatoes can hit you as you enter the store and starts your taste buds watering. On a cold evening it is hard to resist putting one in your shopping basket.
Enough about shopping and the seasons, let’s get to the baking.
200 grams flour
100 grams cold butter
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 grams sugar
1. Sift the flour into a bowl. Cut butter into small cubes and mix with the flour using a pastry cutter (use a food processor if you have one). Butter should be well mixed with the flour.
2. Add the egg, sugar, salt & water and mix. Put dough on a smooth surface and knead gently until it is soft and well mixed.
3. Cover in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before using.
50 grams almond powder
50 grams powdered sugar
50 grams soft butter
5 grams flour
5 grams dark rum
1. Mix the butter and powdered sugar. Add the egg and mix. Add the almond powder, flour & rum. Mix well.
1 sweet potato (baked, peeled & sliced about 300 grams)
1/2 sweet potato thinly sliced (these pieces will be boiled)
30 grams butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar
15 grams honey
10 grams dark rum
2 egg yolks
100 grams fresh cream
1. In a bowl, soften the butter then add the brown sugar, honey, rum & egg yolks. Mix well with a whisk.
2. Boil the sliced sweet potatoes in water (add 1 tablespoon sugar to the water) until they are soft. Do not over boil or they will break apart.
3. Add the 300 grams sweet potato to #1. You can use a food processor to mix together or a fork. Slowly, add the cream. To remove the lumps, you can put the mixture through a sieve.
4. Roll the dough to fit the tart pan and cut off any extra. Fill the bottom with sweet potato filling the cover with almond cream (do not add too much). Arrange the sliced sweet potatoes on top in a nice circle pattern.
5. Bake at 170 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes then reduce to 160 degrees and bake for 40 minutes until browned.