I am not sure why I'm freaking out. It might just be the appearance of sunlight, it might just be that I ate breakfast this morning. (Have you tried it? It's amazing.) But I'm suddenly feeling just o so fancy and prancy. And then, YOIKS! I am suddenly aware that winter is ending. It's a bittersweet thing. I secretly super-heart winter.
I love how the winter season really gets my foraging intstinct going. I want to dig in the earth and pull up all the secret, sweet things that are quietly growing underground. I want to scumble around in pinecones and snow-crusted vegetable beds to discover the stalwart herbs that continue to work their way out. I want to spoon up something warm and soul-satisfying. I'm not ready for spring… Not just yet. Give me a few more cold weather days, and more rich, warming foods. Here's one of my favorite winter desserts for just that kind of nestling in.
Sweet Potato Gingersnap Crumble
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking and cooling time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
For the filling:
- 4 small sweet potatoes
- 6-8 cups water
- 1 egg or 1-1/2 teaspoons dried egg substitution whisked with 2 tablespoons cool water
- 4 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
- ¼ cup milk (or same amount of juice from orange, listed below)
- 2 Tablespoons grade B maple syrup
- Zest of 1 orange
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
For the topping:
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons very cold butter or margarine, cubed
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 25-30 crisp gingersnaps
To make the filling: Bring the sweet potatoes to a boil in a large pot filled with enough cold water to cover them. When they are soft enough to be pierced through with a knife, remove them and slip off their skins with a cloth towel. Whisk the egg or substitute together with the butter or margarine, milk, maple syrup, orange zest and vanilla. Add this mixture to the sweet potatoes and whisk together. It is okay if the butter or margarine is not completely integrated with the mixture.
To make the topping: Combine the brown sugar, butter or margarine and flour together in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse it a few times. Add gingersnaps and pulse again a few more times; you can either crush them very fine or leave them chunky.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush an 8” baking dish with butter or margarine or spray with nonstick spray. Press some of the crushed cookie mixture into the bottom of the pan. Top this with the sweet potato filling, and then follow with more cookie mixture.
Bake until brown on top, 30 to 45 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool several minutes before serving.