Savoury Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole

Savoury Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole - Candy Coated Culinista

Savoury Holiday Sweet Potato Casserole – Candy Coated Culinista

Is there such a thing as too savoury…I sure think so. I made this recipe well before Thanksgiving thinking this sounds like an amazing unique dish too bad you can really only stomach it around the holidays or at least only I can.

Yield/Serving: 8-10
Prep Time: 30 min.
Cook Time: 30 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

• 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into pieces
• 6 slices bacon
• ½ cup golden brown sugar
• 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup walnuts, chopped
• ½ cup butter, melted
• ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
• 1/8 tsp black pepper
• 1/8 tsp nutmeg
• 1/8 tsp cloves
• 1/8 tsp ginger
• 1/8 tsp cinnamon
• 2 tsp sea salt
• 1 spring rosemary, diced
• 1 stem of basil, diced
• ¼ cup 2% milk
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
• Pecans, to decorate
• Bacon, to decorate
• Rosemary, to decorate

1. Fill a large pot with water and boil sweet potatoes until tender.
2. Using a large frying pan, fry bacon slices and place on a paper towel and let absorb.
3. Chop bacon (leave some bacon behind to decorate if desired) and place in a large bowl along with brown sugar, flour, walnuts, butter, cayenne pepper, black pepper, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cinnamon, sea salt, rosemary, basil and combine with a whisk.
4. Preheat oven to 350°F.
5. Mash the sweet potatoes and add in the milk, eggs and sugar and spice mixture and stir until well incorporated.
6. Pour sweet potato into a casserole dish and decorate with pecans along the sides and add bacon bits along with more rosemary in the centre.
7. Bake for 30 minutes and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
Like eating a very savoury sweet potato pie; the crunch from the nuts and the touch of saltiness from the bacon had me wanting more, the spices though probably a tad too much had me running away and I have altered the recipe accordingly for next time. I’m more of a hint of spices not an overwhelming amount. For awhile I didn’t even remember there was cayenne pepper in it until the slow burn crept up and then that was it I’m was done. This recipe smelt amazing from beginning to end, yet after 5 or so bites I just thought I think this is too savoury. Much like Pumpkin Spice Lattes in autumn and fruit cake or eggnog at Christmas some things are better only eaten at certain times of the year; because you well just don’t enjoy it as much any other time of the year. There is this novelty factor in a way and this is why I’ll be making this for either one of these holidays for dinner and no other time in the year ever.


Coconut Pepita Pumpkin Pie

Coconut Pepita Pumpkin Pie - Candy Coated Culinista

Coconut Pepita Pumpkin Pie – Candy Coated Culinista

It is funny how a recipe just evolves. This recipe started out as a recipe from a magazine and every year I would deduct and add and let’s face it this recipe probably hasn’t stopped evolving; but for right now it is a beautiful complex dessert that is attention grabbing for the eyes and with ever bit.

Ginger Syrup

Prepping for Thanksgiving dinner with this ginger syrup recipe. Make this ahead of time and refrigerate.

Yield/Serving: 2 cups
Prep Time: 5 min.
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Difficulty level is: Easy

• 1 cup of ginger, peeled and half sliced and half grated
• 1 ½ cups sugar
• 2 cups water

1. Peel ginger and grate half and slice the other half.
2. In a medium sized pot bring ginger, sugar and water to a simmer over medium-low heat.
3. Stir frequently until sugar has dissolved and then lower to low heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Using a sieve strain out the ginger pieces and pour into a container and let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.

• Use ginger for something else if you desire. Candied ginger perhaps
• Use the remaining ginger syrup, for cocktails, tea or anything else you like.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This was a very simple recipe and I haven’t made too many types of syrup before; but this one turned out well. The syrup was spicy and tasted very much like ginger. I can’t wait to incorporate this into my Thanksgiving recipe.

Coconut Pepita Pumpkin Pie

Yield/Serving: 1 pie
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 90 min.
Difficulty level is: Medium

For Ginger Syrup
• Prepare ginger syrup recipe ahead of time. See recipe above.
For Crust
• 2 cups chocolate crumbs
• ¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
For Filing
• 5 egg yolks
• 2 cups pure pumpkin puree
• ¾ cup coconut milk
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 2 tbsp ginger syrup
• 1 tsp cinnamon
• 1/8 tsp ground cloves
• 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
• ¼ tsp salt
• 1/8 cup desiccated coconut, toasted
• spicy pepitas
• Coconut flakes
For Meringue
• ¾ cup granulated sugar
• ¼ tsp cream of tartar
• 5 eggs whites
• Drizzle ginger syrup over top of pie

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Have a 9” pie plate at the ready.
2. Stir chocolate crumbs with butter in a medium bowl until moist. Press crumbs into the bottom and up the sides of pie plate. Bake in centre of oven, covered with foil, for 10 min.
3. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl. Add pumpkin, coconut milk, brown sugar, ginger syrup and spices. Whisk until mixture is smooth. Pour filling over warm crust. Smooth top.
4. Bake in centre of oven, covered with foil for 30 min. Remove foil and continue baking until filling slightly jiggly in the centre, about 20 more min. Transfer to rack to completely.
5. Toast desiccated coconut in a small non-stick frying pan until just browned and set aside.
6. Place pepitas around the outside of the pie followed by the coconut flakes.
6. Using a medium sized bowl and a hand held mixer. Combine ¾ cup granulated sugar and egg white along with ¼ tsp cream of tartar and mix on medium gradually increasing to high speed. Meringue is complete when it becomes stiff peaks.
7. Spread meringue on pumpkin pie in the middle leaving a little bit of the pumpkin pie to show and using your kitchen torch; torch the meringue.
8. Garnish pie with toasted desiccated coconut and ginger syrup and serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
I just loved cutting into a pie and seeing all the layers and the giggle and nothing spilling over. It means I’ve done good and at Thanksgiving this is when your recipes need to be top notch. The flavours came together superbly and I think I won’t be changing my recipe anytime soon.

Ginger Syrup - Candy Coated Culinista

Ginger Syrup – Candy Coated Culinista

Coconut Pepita Pumpkin Pie - Candy Coated Culinista

Coconut Pepita Pumpkin Pie – Candy Coated Culinista

Chunky Apple Cranberry Chutney

Cranberry Apple Chutney - Candy Coated Culinista

Cranberry Apple Chutney – Candy Coated Culinista

Sometimes I wonder how vegetarians get through the holidays like, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter where the main focus is a big piece of protein. This is also the time where there probably is the most side dish options thank can build up a full meal, but still center stage is well let’s face it that protein. I saw this recipe in a Longos in-store magazine and altered it from being non-vegetarian to vegetarian. To me there is no reason why the sides can’t at least be all meat and animal by products free right.

Yield/Serving: 6- 8
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 20 min.
Difficulty level is: Easy

Slightly altered from Longos Experience

• 1 tbsp vegetable margarine
• 1 large apple, peeled and chopped
• ¼ cup red onion, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 1 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
• 1/2 cup vegetable broth
• 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
• 1 tbsp cider vinegar
• Sea salt, to taste
• Black pepper, to taste
• Zest from one orange, fresh

1. Over medium-high heat melt butter in a saucepan.
2. Add in apples and onions and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes until golden.
3. Add in the cranberries, garlic, broth, maple syrup, cider vinegar, salt and pepper.
4. Bring mixture to a simmer until slightly thickened, 7 to 8 minutes.
5. Grate in orange zest
6. Serve.

Please Enjoy

My thoughts
This is was a very delicious cranberry sauce. I found it to taste more savoury than the other cranberry sauces I have had around Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Au Gratin Potatoes

Au Gratin Potatoes - Candy Coated Culinista

Au Gratin Potatoes – Candy Coated Culinista

When I saw the pomegranate lacquered roast chicken I was thinking what I could make to accompany this as a side dish. Lucky for me Heather made some suggestions in her post and I chose to make potatoes.

Altered From Heather Cristo

Yield/Serving: 8-10
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 1 hour
Difficulty level is: Medium

• 10-12 Cups thinly sliced potatoes
• 4 cups 35% cream
• 4 tbsp butter
• 4 tbsp flour
• 8oz cream cheese, cut into chunks
• 1/8 tsp nutmeg
• Kosher salt
• Ground black pepper
• 2 tbsp melted butter for baking pan
• Fresh Thyme leaves
• Basil
• Parsley
• 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
• 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Bring the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan.
3. Using a large saucepan melt the butter and whisk in the flour and make a roux.
4. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat to let the flour taste dissipate.
5. Add the cream to the roux pot and whisk until the sauce is smooth.
6. Now add the cream cheese chunks and whisk until smooth.
7. Season this with nutmeg, kosher salt and pepper.
8. Pour the melted butter into a 9×13 baking dish and layer the potatoes.
9. Ladle a thin layer of the sauce over the potatoes and sprinkle with parmesan and mozzarella.
10. Add another layer of potatoes and repeat this process over until complete. (The top will have the most sauce, parmesan cheese, mozzarella along with thyme, basil and parsley.
11. Bake at 350°F for 1 hour or until the potatoes are tender and the top is golden brown.

• I lessened the cheese to 1/3 cup parmesan cheese and added 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
• I also added basil and parsley to the top of the potatoes.
• Increase the temperature 350°F so the chicken and potatoes are in the oven at the same time.
• This is also a great dish to make a second container of and freeze.

Please Enjoy

“So good I wanted more – the potatoes were roasted perfectly, falling off my fork as I went for bites.
Just the right amount of cream and cheese – the cheese crust on top was perfect, not too crisp and not too soft.”

I mentioned that I had altered the recipe a bit and was told “It was perfect just the way it was”

“Wonderful potatoes.”

My thoughts
Yum Yum Yum is all I have to say. It was homey and a great comfort food. I am glad I altered the amount and type of cheese as I didn’t want to consume all that cheese. I can finally say I made a roux which was really easy to make.

Pomegranate Lacquered Roast Chicken

Pomegranate Lacquered Roast Chicken - Candy Coated Culinista

Pomegranate Lacquered Roast Chicken – Candy Coated Culinista

I love pomegranates and when they are in season I am enjoying them as much as possible. Yes it is a messy and hard to eat fruit and I’d advise not to eat it in your best clothes, but it is so worth it. There is tartness and sweetness that I love and I enjoy it whether I have the actual fruit or the juice. This recipe has been on my “to-do list” and now that the seasons are right I made a seasonally flavoured roast chicken.

From Heather Cristo

Yield/Serving: 6 per chicken
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 1 hour & 55 min
Difficulty level is: Medium

• 1- 3 or 4 pound whole chicken
• Kosher salt, to taste
• Season salt, to taste
• Ground black pepper, to taste
• Paprika, to taste
• Onion powder, to taste
• Garlic powder, to taste
• 4 tbsp butter
• 1 cup white wine
• 2 cups pomegranate juice
• ¼ cup sugar
• 1 whole Pomegranate for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Rinse the chicken in cold water and dry with a paper towel, and set in a baking pan.
3. Sprinkle with spices and rub onto chicken.
4. In a small saucepan melt butter and then add wine, pomegranate juice, sugar and simmer on medium-low heat for 20 minutes or until the liquid has reduced to half.
5. Pour the liquid over the chicken and place on the middle rack in the oven.
6. Roast the chicken for 1 hour 35 minutes, basting every 20 minutes with the pans juices.
7. Let chicken rest for 10 minutes and serve.

• Sprinkle with some pomegranate seeds and serve.
• Invest in a turkey baster. I have made a few turkeys now and I still don’t own a baster. It’s time I get myself one I think.
• I basted more than the recipe suggested. (about every 20 minutes)
• The pomegranate sauce did reduce by half but I still found it to be very liquidy. The roast didn’t end up having a pomegranate stained lacquered look that the picture had at all. Next time I would make myself a pomegranate jam the day before and then brush on the jam, and use that along with the pomegranate reduction in the recipe above.
• I added more spices to the chicken (season salt, black pepper, paprika, and onion and garlic powder).
• Use the drippings for a gravy.
• This is a great recipe to make more than one roast of. 3 roast chickens fit into my baking pan perfectly and I used the same amounts in the recipes and it came out delicious. I made one for dinner, one to freeze and one for my dad.
• Serve with au gratin potatoes along with steamed green beans and carrots.

Please Enjoy

“It was wonderfully moist and the skin had a sweet taste to it. I would’ve liked a bit more crisp on the skin but the meat was so perfectly roasted and was literally fall off the bone delicious.”

“This was amazing babe”, “That dinner last night was incredible”, “Luscious chicken”

My thoughts
I am gushing about this roast chicken. It was juicy, sweet and tart and it is basically fool proof besides the pomegranate lacquered part and the need for the skin to be more crispy. This would also be a good alternate to a thanksgiving turkey for those who don’t like turkey. The drippings and the pomegranate sauce made a tasty gravy.

Pumpkin Chocolate Bundt

Pumpkin Chocolate Bundt - Candy Coated Culinista

Pumpkin Chocolate Bundt – Candy Coated Culinista

I spent Sunday morning waiting for the LCBO to open. I don’t drink except for the occasional cocktail so when I went to the LCBO at 10:30am and realized it wasn’t open yet I knew I wasn’t a regular there. I came back at 11:50am for the noon opening to find a line up of 15–20 people I kid you not and I just chuckled to myself and thought “These people are serious”. I was waiting for the pumpkin cooking club challenge to come, since Canadian Thanksgiving is on October 14th 2013, it was inevitable I thought. So I had my pure pumpkin puree on hand already when the challenge was posted. When I saw the recipe for the Ultimate Pumpkin Loaf, I decided to get creative and put my Candy Coated Culinista twist on it. I’ve been thinking about how I can get people to like pumpkin more in desserts more. I seem to find pumpkins get a bad rap; you either love or hate it. I am on the fence though, with me it all depends on how it is presented to me. Yes they are the quintessential fall squash, but they seem to be in one of two places in pumpkin pie or on the porch and butchered up for Halloween with a light shining from within. So this challenge gave me the chance to experiment and let me say it was touch and go for a bit there, as I was looking through the oven window praying this thing rises.

Click here to see my picture on the cooking club gallery page.

Altered from Chatelaine

Yield/Serving: 12
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 40-45 min
Difficulty level is: Medium

• Cooking spray
• 1 ¾ all purpose flour
• 1 tsp Baking soda
• ½ tsp cinnamon
• ½ tsp ginger spice
• ½ tsp nutmeg
• ½ tsp salt
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup brown sugar
Melting Chocolate
• 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chunks
• 1 tsp sunflower oil
• 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
• 1/3 cup pumpkin ale
• ¼ cup sunflower oil
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1/3 cup pumpkin ale
• ¼ cup sunflower oil
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 2/3 cup icing sugar
• 2 tbsp pumpkin ale
• ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
• 1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat over to 350°F. Lightly spray the Bundt pan with cooking spray.
2. Stir flour with baking soda, spices and salt in a medium bowl.
3. Whisk eggs with brown sugar in a large bowl, and add in flour mixture.
4. Pour semisweet chocolate into a microwave safe bowl and add 1 tsp of oil and cook until all the chocolate is melted. Check the chocolate at 30 seconds intervals to ensure it doesn’t burn, and stir each time.
5. Split mixture in half and add half to the electric mixer.
6. Pour in pumpkin puree, 1/3 cup ale, 1/3 sunflower oil & 1tsp vanilla into the electric mixer and whisk until combined.
7. With the remaining half of the mixture pour into a clean mixer bowl and add chocolate, oil, ale and vanilla.
8. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the prepared pan, followed by the chocolate mixture and smooth the top.
9. Bake in the centre of oven until it is dark golden and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
10. Let cool for 15 min and then run a silicone knife spatula along the edges transfer to rack to cool.
11. Whisk icing sugar and pumpkin ale in mixer and spoon over Bundt ad add pepitas

• Pumpkin ale is sold I beer or liquor stores during the fall; but cream ale works just as well.
• Since its fall I found Pumpkin seeds at Metro on a random trip to the market and saved myself the trip to a Latin grocery store. They were much bigger seeds and super spicy and salty, but you only get a few seeds with each slice so it didn’t alter the flavour in any way.

Please Enjoy

They were all gone by 8:30am at Mr. C’s office and that made me smile. But two said they aren’t fans of pumpkin, they really enjoyed the chocolate but they didn’t care for the pumpkin.

My thoughts
I was pleasantly surprised with what came out of my oven. When I split the mixture into two the chocolate part looked so dry that I decided to add more sunflower oil and ale to get it wet. If I had left it drier there was no way it was going to turn out right. I will be making this for Thanksgivings dinner with the family. This is the first year my dad is up to having Thanksgiving out since my mom has passed away and I want the desserts to be extra special. The in laws make a mean Thanksgiving dinner with Fresh un-frozen turkey, homemade cranberry sauce, green beans with almond slivers, creamy mashed potatoes, and a parsnip mash. So that leaves me with dessert and I haven’t even mentioned the appetizers. I can’t wait and I hope I just hope my dessert hold up to the amazing meal. There will be
more recipes to come. I am planning to make a cranberry molasses cake and an apple caramel trifle and I can’t wait.

Variation October 13th 2013
Yesterday I made another Bundt for Thanksgiving at the in-laws and I used water instead of Pumpkin Ale in step 6. I also used swirled milk & white chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet chocolate chunks in step 7. Please use the same measurements. Mr. C. said this tasted better than the first batch. I served it with freshly whipped vanilla whipped cream. Everyone at the Thanksgiving dinner enjoyed it and loved the combination of pumpkin & chocolate.

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