Elevate sweet potato by cooking them fondant style – slow roasted in stock so the inside becomes beautifully creamy and infused with savoury flavour. Also known as Melting Potatoes, you can serve it just like that, or douse with a Maple Butter Pecan Sauce for instant “wow!”
Sweet? Yes. But it’s counterbalanced by the savoury tinged flesh and the nuts. Excellent holiday side dish!
Fondant Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Stick the word “fondant” in front of “potato”, and suddenly your everyday spuds suddenly sound a whole lot fancier.
But in reality, it’s just potatoes that have been slow roasted with a little stock until they absorb the flavour so they become creamy and savoury on the inside, and golden caramelised on the outside.
A little bit of extra effort for which you will reap very big rewards.
While you can “fondant” ordinary potatoes, I think it’s even better with sweet potatoes. Especially if you douse with the optional-but-not-really Maple Butter Pecan Sauce!
What you need for Fondant Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Here’s what you need:
For the Fondant Potatoes:
- Sweet potatoes – 1.25 – 1.5 kg / 2.5 – 3 lb, 3 medium/large ones preferably around the same size. Basically you need enough to fill a pan with 3cm / 1.2″ thick rounds, leaving some space between each one. Leave the skin on – free extra nutrition but also it holds the slices together even when they are meltingly tender inside;
- Butter AND oil for roasting – we love butter for flavour, but it burns at high temperatures. So to prevent this, we use a combination of butter with oil so we get the best of both worlds – the buttery flavour and some nice browning which you can only achieve in a hot oven; and
- Salt & pepper.
For the Maple Butter Pecan Sauce:
- Maple syrup – pure maple syrup is best, for the best flavour! If you can’t get or your budget doesn’t extend to pure maple syrup, opt for honey rather than artificially flavoured maple syrup;
- Butter – to add a touch of buttery richness into the sauce; and
- Chopped pecans – best to chop whole ones yourself for better flavour than buying pre-chopped. Also terrific with walnuts, almonds, pistachios – and probably more, I just haven’t tried!
How to make Fondant Sweet Potatoes
Here’s how to make fondant sweet potatoes:
- Thick slices – Cut into thick 3cm / 1.2″ slices – thick enough so they don’t collapse into mush with the 1 hour roasting time required for this recipe;
- Sprinkle & drizzle – Lay in a roasting pan, douse with melted butter and oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Just squidge them around in the pan, turning to coat – no need to dirty a separate bowl for this step;
- Roast 20 minutes – Roast for 20 minutes in a hot 240°C/465°F oven;
- Flip & roast 15 minutes – Flip, then roast for another 15 minutes. By this time, both sides should have some nice colour on them and they will be cooked through – but we’re going to take them further to make them ultra creamy on the inside as well as add flavour!
- Baste – Spoon the buttery pan juices over the potato;
- Roast in stock 20 minutes – pour stock in and optional garlic (I just can’t help myself), Then return to the oven for another 15 to 20 minutes until the stock is soaked up by the potatoes. You’ll end up with a thick sludge at the bottom of the pan which might even look a little burnt – but that’s ok, we aren’t using it!
This is what they look out of the oven – caramelised on the edges with the skin holding together the super soft flesh inside!
How to make the Maple Butter Pecan Sauce
Plonk and simmer – Toast the pecans in a dry pan first to bring out the nutty flavours. Then just add butter, maple, cinnamon and a pinch of salt and simmer for a couple of minutes until it reduces and thickens slightly.
The sauce will thicken as it cools, so don’t worry if it looks thin when hot!
Sweetness factor – and how to reduce sweetness
With the sweet potato and the Maple Butter Sauce, there’s no denying that this is a sweet dish so it might not be to your taste if you aren’t into sweet/savoury dishes.
However, unlike other similar sweet potato dishes, this has an element of savoury in it from the stock absorbed by the potatoes and the nuts which counteracts the sweet.
Also, remember that you’re not supposed to eat the whole platter yourself, just one or two pieces (each piece is a sizeable chunk!)) and it’s served alongside savoury things.
But if you want to reduce the sweetness, here are a few options:
- skip the sauce – the Fondant Sweet Potatoes have enough flavour as it is, the sauce just takes it over the top!
- just use the pecans sprinkled over the potatoes ie no maple sauce;
- use the Honey Lemon Dressing in this Roasted Sweet Potato Salad recipe instead – the lemon balances out the sweetness. Switch the Honey for maple syrup to retain a similar flavour profile!
What to serve with Fondant Sweet Potatoes
The flavourings in this dish are certainly on theme for holiday feasting – it’s right at home on a Christmas or Thanksgiving table. Having said that though, it’s just generally an excellent simple side dish that’s worthy of pulling out all year round whether it’s for something simple like a lime marinated chicken, a simple crispy pan fried fish or Garlic Prawns.
It’s also a handy dish for big feasting occasions because it can be served warm OR at room temperature so you don’t need to worry about preparing it fresh. The potatoes are so soft inside, there’s no crispiness to be retained on the outside so it doesn’t matter if they cool down.
If you give this sweet potato recipe a go, I’d love to know how you serve it! – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Fondant Slow Roasted Sweet Potatoes – with maple butter pecans
And if that’s not enough (and it really is, you can serve it just like that) you’ve got the option to douse with a Maple Butter Pecan Sauce which elevates it to “wow”.
Sweet? Yes. But it’s counterbalanced by the infusion of savoury in the flesh and the nuts. Though if you prefer some tart, use the Honey Lemon Sauce in this sweet potato salad recipe instead (switch honey with maple!)
- 1.5 kg / 3 lb sweet potatoes – 3 thick ones (Note 1)
- 25g/ 1 1/2 tbsp butter , unsalted, melted (Note 2)
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil (Note 2)
- 3/4 tsp salt , kosher/cooking (1/2 tsp table salt)
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/4 cups chicken stock , low sodium (or vegetable stock)
Maple Butter Pecan Sauce (optional / not really!):
- 1/2 cup maple syrup (pure, Note 3)
- 30g/ 2 tbsp butter , unsalted
- 1/3 cup pecans , chopped (Note 4)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 240°C/465°F (220°C fan).
Cut the potatoes into 3cm / 1.2″ discs.
Place the potatoes in a large pan or baking sheet with tallish sides (we’re adding liquid later).
Drizzle with butter and oil, sprinkle with half the salt and pepper. Squidge around, turn potatoes, sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper.
Roast: Place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes.
Turn, roast: Carefully turn potatoes, then roast for a further 15 minutes.
Baste, add stock: Spoon the butter/oil in the pan over the potatoes. Then carefully pour the stock in around the potatoes, then scatter the garlic into the liquid too.
Roast to absorb stock: Return to the oven, then roast for a further 15 to 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed/evaporated. The exact time depends on the height of pan walls / how heavy based your pan is etc.
Assemble & serve: Transfer potatoes to serving platter, scraping up some of the pan juices as you go (Note 5), and piling them high on the plate. Pour over Maple Butter Pecan Sauce just before serving. Serve warm – or at room temperature!
Maple Butter Pecan Sauce:
Place pecans in a saucepan or small skillet over medium high heat. Stir for 30 seconds until you can smell the pecans. Add remaining ingredients, then once the butter melts and it starts bubbling, simmer on medium heat for 1 1/2 minutes until it reduces and thickens slightly (it gets thicker as it cools).
Transfer to serving jug. Serve over potatoes.
2. Butter and oil are needed to stop the butter from burning at the high temp we’re roasting in.
3. Maple syrup – use pure, not the artificially flavoured stuff. If you can’t find it or it’s pricey where you are, opt for honey instead.
4. Pecans – this is the chopped volume, so it’s a little over 1/2 cup whole pecans. Other nuts that work a treat include walnuts, almonds and pistachios. I’m sure others do too, these are just the nuts I’ve tried over the years with this sauce.
5. Pan juices – if you’re not using the maple butter sauce, then pour over all the residual pan juices over the potatoes, but avoid scraping up any burnt bits from the potato / butter (it will be bitter). If you are using the sauce, you don’t need the extra flavour – just use whatever ends up on your spatular (in anycase, the base of the potatoes are soaked in pan juices!)
6. Storage – best served fresh on the day, either warm (my preference) or at room temp. Roasted potatoes generally don’t keep well – they sweat and become quite soggy and sad. If you need a sweet potato dish to make ahead, I highly recommend this Savoury Sweet Potato Casserole (it’s got browned butter ribboned throughout!!).
7. Nutrition per serving, assuming this serves 8, including all the Maple Butter Pecan Sauce. Reduces to just under 200 calories without the Sauce.
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