Sweet Potato Tart
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The main reason? It’s about food and sharing. But also because it has no religious undertones nor does it have anything to do with gift-giving; it is just about togetherness. Each year, I look forward to Thanksgiving months in advance. Thanksgiving is frequently about traditions, which normally means repetition year after year. Tradition is something I did not experience a lot of growing up.
Old vs. New Traditions
My parents divorced when I was very young and as a result, per the court-mandated custody agreement, I split my holidays between my mom in NYC and my dad in Arizona. Tradition gets lost a bit when you find yourself traveling on the actual holiday to see both parents on the same day. My husband and I work hard on establishing traditions with our boys, but we’ve worked on a few twists.
So, for me, Thanksgiving does not mean making the same food every year, instead, I focus on foods that remind our family of happy things, whether new or old. Old and new memories meet. Only on Thanksgiving can your grandmother’s green bean casserole follow a duck liver pate appetizer, with no one blinking an eye.
Since moving to California, the Thanksgiving holidays have changed for me once again, and I’m okay with it (especially the super fresh produce!!!). So, in that fashion, this year, instead of pumpkin pie, I’m rooting for this delicious sweet potato tart instead. If you follow me, you know, I love tarts, so this should come as no surprise. I happen to like pumpkin pie, but I think I like this sweet potato tart more.
If you read my pumpkin cookie or pumpkin curry soup post you already know I am a fan of pumpkin, but I have also come to love sweet potato as an alternative. Most don’t realize that sweet potatoes are loaded with protein (more than pumpkin) and are very high in fiber (again, even more so than pumpkin). While pumpkin is lower in calories, sweet potatoes have broader nutritional value. Also, interestingly, sweet potatoes have made their way to The Environmental Working Group’s “clean 15 lists”, meaning they contain few traces of pesticides even when they are not organic–another bonus!
Sweet Potatoes vs. Yams
I have noticed some confusion between sweet potatoes and yams. It may surprise some people to learn that what they think is a yam is simply a sweet potato that has been mislabeled (I see this all the time). It’s possible in fact, that you may never have had a real yam as they are rather hard to find. Sweet potatoes are root vegetables from a plant in the Morning Glory family. They have tapered ends, thin smooth flesh with beige, orange, or purple flesh. They can be long and skinny or round and plump and have a sweet taste. Sweet potatoes are grown in the US, mainly in North Carolina.
A yam is an edible root related to lilies and grasses. They have rough and somewhat scaly skin and a dry, starchy taste. Yams are grown in Africa (where they originated), Southwest Asia, the Caribbean, and Central America. The FDA, which regulates food labeling, does not have a standard for identifying either sweet potatoes or yams, so both are used interchangeably further, increasing the confusion in grocery stores.
In this recipe, I use my simple pie/tart dough recipe because it’s super easy. Even with making your tart dough, this tart could not be easier to whip up, even during the busy holiday crunch. That said, I know that not everyone is going to make their crust from scratch. If you want to cut this particular corner, just use a good quality dough made with butter and not shortening.
I prefer to roast my sweet potatoes in the oven, which takes time. But you can cut another corner and microwave them for 8-9 minutes if you prefer. This tart is sweet but not overly so. With hints of nutmeg and cinnamon, it is similar to pumpkin but slightly creamier and subtler, making this slightly more appealing to younger folks.
The recipe below is for a standard 10-inch tart, but for this post, I made smaller 5-inch tarts instead. I do this often, as I love to have smaller bite-size pieces of all different types of desserts, especially on Thanksgiving.
So, whatever you are doing (or serving) for Thanksgiving this year, wherever you may be traveling to or whomever you are celebrating it with, and whether it’s filled with old traditions or new ones, I hope it’s a wonderful one.