Let's be honest, nothing is ever going to beat a good pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving dinner. But if you are looking to do something different, this is a good option.
Somewhere between a pumpkin pie and mashed sweet potatoes, it's elegant, a little quirky, and comes together extremely quickly if you are organized and address some elements a day or two before. The candied pecans, for instance, can be made up to a week in advance, the sweet potato two or three days in advance and the meringue up to 48 hours in advance.
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
2 small pinches of black pepper
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon water
2 cups pecans
4 room-temperature egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
5 medium-sized sweet potatoes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
100 grams (3.5 ounces) 70-per-cent dark chocolate
For the candied pecans, preheat oven to 350F.
Line a baking sheet with grease-proof paper. Mix together all the ingredients until sugar has dissolved and nuts are covered with a thick slurry. Evenly spread out the nuts on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until sugar has crusted and began to scaramelize. Remove from oven and let cool. Store in airtight container until ready to use.
For the meringue, in a stand mixer, whisk eggs until soft peaks are formed. Turn off mixer. Meanwhile, heat sugar and water in a pan and cook until it has reached 240F. Turn the mixer back on to medium-high speed and slowly pour in the hot syrup. Whisk just until stiff peaks have formed. Place in an airtight container and keep in the fridge until ready to use.
For the sweet potato, preheat oven to 350F.
Place potatoes on a roasting tray and bake for about 1 hour. When they are cooked all the way through, let them cool on a counter until room temperature. Gently peal them and cut them into 1.5-inch cubes. Place in a container and keep in fridge until ready to use
To assemble, on individual plates smear a big spoonful of the meringue on the bottom. Gently spoon on 4 or 5 pieces of sweet potato over the meringue. Sprinkle 4 to 5 pecans around the plate. Drizzle a teaspoon of maple syrup over each plate. Grate or shave the chocolate over each plate. Sprinkle a pinch of salt over all the plates and garnish with mint.