These gluten-free sweet potato puffs are a great side dish that you can prepare well ahead of time and will probably be the very last dish on your list to cook just before serving your Christmas meal. It’s important to cook these at the last minute as you want to see these gorgeous puffs sizzling on the dinner table next to the rest of the Christmas spread.
What do they taste like?
SWEET!! Despite their sweetness, the sweet potato puffs go amazingly well with roast turkey or baked ham along with all the other trimmings. Just as cranberry sauce compliments Christmas roasts, these sweet potato puffs do the same job. For those who enjoy sweet potato casserole with marshmallows and cherries as a Christmas side, this recipe is similar but needs some extra work to create these sweet potato dumplings filled with a gooey marshmallow and coated in a buttery cornflake crumb.
Where do they originate from?
This recipe comes from my old Campbells Cajun-Creole Cookbook that I picked up during one of my US trips in the early 90s. I fell in love with Cajun cooking and at the time, while I was living in Australia, Cajun food was really in, so naturally, I devoured this cookbook and eventually fell in love with these sweet potato puffs.
The original recipe was created by a former Louisiana governor’s wife, Blanche Long who would often serve these to dignitaries from around the world when visiting.
What type of sweet potato is used?
The orange-flesh sweet potatoes (also known as OFSP) are the ones that have the perfect texture and colour to create these puffs.
Besides their appearance, they are rich in beta-carotene and contain good sources of Vitamin A, B, C & K. In fact, the more intense the orange colour of the sweet potato, the more Vitamin A is present.
Essential ingredients needed for this recipe:
- Four medium-sized orange-flesh sweet potatoes
- 18 to 20 store-bought gluten-free plain marshmallows
- Store-bought gluten-free cornflakes
- Light or dark brown sugar
- Cinnamon & nutmeg powder
- Unsalted or salted butter (use less salt in the recipe if using salted)
- Fresh eggs
Are marshmallows gluten-free?
Most store-bought marshmallows are naturally gluten-free and usually made with gelatine, sugar, golden or glucose syrup and cornflour. Some manufacturers may use wheat flour instead of cornflour, so look out for this addition on the packaging label to be sure it is gluten-free.
Note: I am currently experimenting with making homemade gluten-free marshmallows, so if they are successful, I will certainly post the recipe.
A few tips:
- Chilling the sweet potato mixture will make assembling the puffs easier.
- Use plain marshmallows rather than flavoured or coloured marshmallows.
- Once assembled, freezing the puffs are essential prior to baking them, otherwise, they will collapse and appear unattractive.
- When assembling, try to be near a sink as you will need to wash your hands often.
- Using your finger, making a small hole in the centre of each uncooked potato puff releases internal pressure during cooking, preventing them from collapsing.
- Slight cracks are normal on the sweet potato puff coating. Once opened, the sweet potato puff will reveal the melted marshmallow centre and blend in with the sweet potato filling and crunchy cornflake crumbs
I hope you enjoy these Cajun Sweet Potatoes and hopefully, they will become a steadfast dish for Christmas as it has with my family, especially for my eldest son who would happily eat five in one sitting!
Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Puffs
For the sweet potato mixture:
- 1 kg orange-flesh sweet potatoes, peeled, chopped roughly (approx. 4 medium sweet potatoes)
- 3 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 tablespoons cornflour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (add ½ tsp extra if you like the extra cinnamon flavour)
- 2 egg yolks *
* Freeze the spare egg whites for desserts like Mini-Pavlova Christmas Wreath
For the filling:
- 18-20 store-bought gluten-free plain marshmallows
For the crumbing:
- 250g store-bought gluten-free cornflakes, crushed
- 3-4 tablespoons melted butter
- Pinch of salt
A handful of fresh cranberries and sage, as decoration
- Preparation time: 40 minutes
- Sweet potato mixture chilling time: 1 hour
- Assembled sweet potato puff freezing time: 2 hours
- Baking time: 20 minutes
1. Cook the peeled and chopped sweet potatoes in a large pot filled with simmering water for 20 minutes, or until soft when pierced.
2. Cool slightly, mash well and combine the melted butter, cornflour, salt, brown sugar, spices and egg yolks. Chill for one hour or until semi-firm.
3. Prepare the crumbing mixture by combining the crushed cornflakes with the melted butter in a medium bowl. Set aside.
4. Place two soup spoons full of sweet potato mixture onto a piece of baking paper. Flatten the mixture using a spatula and place a marshmallow piece in the centre of the mixture.
5. Working quickly, gather the mixture around the marshmallow using one or two spatulas until it is entirely covered.
6. Lift the baking paper and transfer the assembled puff to the cornflake crumbing mixture to roll and turn at all angles to ensure an even coating.
7. Place the puffs on a lined baking sheet leaving a small hole at the top of each puff by pressing an indentation with your finger until you see the marshmallow. This prevents the puffs from cracking and allows the puff to “breathe” while baking.
8. Place the baking tray in the freezer and once frozen these can be either stored in a sealed container to be baked at a later date or bake straight away.
9. Preheat the oven to 175°C/ 345°F.
10. Place the frozen puffs close together in a deep baking dish. Scatter some fresh cranberries in between the puffs. Bake from frozen for 20 minutes, or until the puffs appear golden. Try not to over-bake the puffs as prolonged cooking will cause the sweet potato to collapse slightly, losing its puffy appearance.
11. Serve immediately with the cooked cranberries and fresh sage leaves as decoration.
- Makes 18-20 puffs
- Once cooked, keeps for 3 days chilled
- Suitable to freeze
- Suitable to reheat in the oven or microwave. Please note they will collapse slightly when reheated.