Easy Weeknight Dinners // Un-Recipe No. 15:
Strawberry Shortcake Stuffed Sweet Potatoes With Cardamom Cream
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Sweet potatoes stuffed with fluffy, buttery biscuit pieces, warm berries and drenched in rich cardamom coconut cream make this a strawberry shortcake recipe fit for dinner. Pin this post.
Baked Sweet Potatoes (pssst: >> how make perfect baked sweet potatoes)
Homemade Biscuits (Biscuits (I modified Minimalist Bakers “Best Damn Vegan Biscuit” Recipe)
Frozen Strawberries And/Or Mixed Berries
Prep For Strawberry Shortcake Stuffed Sweet Potato:
If you don’t have any on hand, toast them up quickly in the same oven as the sweet potatoes. Watch closely so they don’t burn, since typically you would toast these in an oven that isn’t so hot.
2. Make The Biscuits: I modified Minimalist Baker’s recipe by adding a tsp. of cardamom powder and dried rosemary to the dough. Do not over handle the dough, it should be light, fluffy and sticky. Since we’re going for bite-size-ish biscuit pieces here, use a smaller cookie cutter (2” diameter).
Once the biscuits are ready to be placed in the oven, brush them with melted coconut oil mixed with more cardamom and rosemary whisked in. The coconut oil will help them develop a golden crispy crust.
The original recipe calls for the biscuits to bake at 450 degrees, but you should turn it up to 460 if you’re placing in the same oven as the sweet potatoes — yes, do it. You’ll always need a little more heat when you’re sharing an oven, but this technique saves a ton of time and allows all the components of the meal to be ready at the same time. Plus, you can’t screw up baking sweet potatoes, the extra heat won’t hurt them.
3. Warm The Strawberries And Release Juices: Microwave strawberries or mixed berries in a glass bowl with a tsp. of coconut oil. Sprinkle them with cardamom to unite the flavors of the berries with the biscuits and cream. You could surely use fresh berries, but frozen work well because you will get more juice as the ice melts, which will soak the biscuits and get absorbed by the sweet potato.
4. Prepare The Cardamom Coconut Cream: Take a can of chilled coconut milk and place in a high-speed blender with one Tbs. or sugar, a pinch of salt and a pinch of cardamom. Alternatively, you could whisk vigorously but I like the even consistency using a Vitamix provides. Note: we’re not making whipped coconut cream here. Think of this more like a sweet/savory coconut sauce and less like something you’d put on ice cream.
5. Build The Strawberry Shortcake Stuffed Sweet Potato: Slice open each sweet potato and place a few strawberries inside each, making sure to spoon some of the excess juice into the sweet potato as well. Tear a couple biscuits into 1” pieces and arrange inside the sweet potato. Top with more berries and drizzle liberally with coconut cream, making sure to let the cream thoroughly soak the biscuit pieces — this is what will elevate the biscuits to “shortcake” status.
Cardamom. Much like vanilla, cardamom is a rich comforting flavor associated with sweet things, but isn’t sweet itself. As a result, when using cardamom you don’t need to use a lot of sugar as the mind kind of fills in the blank.
Cardamom is popular in India and is what gives chai tea its distinctive flavor. Try adding it to smoothies, coffee or anywhere you might use cinnamon or vanilla. I used cardamom in this un-recipe because the smoky, aromatic and exotic flavor brings a welcome earthiness to the natural sugars in the strawberries and the sweet potato.
For The Win:
Share The Oven. Sweet potatoes take a while to bake and can monopolize your oven. I know I don’t have two ovens lying around so sometimes sharing is a necessity. Thankfully, sweet potatoes are hard to screw up; they won’t be compromised if you change the temperature on them. You can’t say the same for biscuits. Since the biscuits are the pickiest component in this un-recipe, I set the oven temperature with the success of the biscuits as the main priority. Simply turn the oven up when you pop in the biscuits and turn it back down when you remove them.
Roasting the pecans and coconut in a hot oven is risky … but if you watch carefully you should be okay. Typically, you would want to roast these at a lower heat, maybe 250 degrees, for about 7-8 minutes. But I didn’t want to create extra steps by making these ahead of time or lower the temperature of the oven (thereby extending the bake time of the sweet potato), so into the super hot oven they went!
Dessert For Dinner. There have been times when I literally have eaten dessert for dinner. I take dessert very seriously. In the summer months especially, I’ve been known to load a bowl of banana ice cream with heaps of berries and chocolate sauce and call it dinner, only to experience a jittery sugar high followed by a slump. I had to learn for myself the reason dessert is not served in a meal-size portion, and why we eat it at the end. All that sugar needs to be blunted by more substantial food.
That said, this dessert-for-dinner un-recipe is as delicious as dessert but not cloyingly sweet or overly rich. It’s rustic, wholesome and satisfying just like comfort food should be.
Much like the Peanut Butter and Jelly Un-Recipe (one of the top posts on this blog, and unexpected favorite), this one is totally unexpected and strangely satisfying. Both sweet potatoes and biscuits occupy a grey area between sweet and savory and can be pushed either way. The key is to not add too much sugar (there is only 1 Tbs. in the whole recipe), and to let the natural sugars of the berries and sweet potato to fuse. Adding cardamom to all the components helps unite the dish and brings an earthiness more appropriate for the main meal.