Adapted from "Brown Sugar Kitchen: New-Style, Down-Home Recipes from Sweet West Oakland" by Tanya Holland © Chronicle Books 2014. Provided courtesy of Tanya Holland. All rights reserved.
Yield: 6 servings
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes (includes soaking time)
Ease of Preparation: Intermediate


  • 2 pounds orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 6 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus a thin slice at room temperature for serving
  • Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt

Special equipment: 3 cups mesquite chips


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a medium bowl, soak 3 cups mesquite chips in water for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil.

Drain and spread the wood chips over the foil. Set a wire rack over the chips. Place the pan over medium heat just until the chips start smoking. Put the sweet potatoes on the rack, cover with foil and roast until a knife slides in easily, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Into a food processor, add the sweet potatoes, maple syrup, cream, butter and cayenne and process until smooth. (If mixing by hand, in a large bowl, mash everything until smooth.) If the sweet-potato puree is too thick, stir in a little water. Taste and season with salt.

Transfer to a bowl and top with the remaining slice of butter. Serve immediately.

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