NPR logo Flambeed Sweet Potatoes

Flambeed Sweet Potatoes

Courtesy of Marisa Lanning
Flambeed sweet potatoes
Courtesy of Marisa Lanning

Submitted by Marisa Lanning of Bainbridge Island, Wash.

My dad, the cook of our family, created this because he hated candied yams. Boiled sweet potatoes were slipped out of their skins, sliced and laid in a baking dish, covered with butter, brown sugar and one whole star anise. He baked them for 30-40 minutes. Right before he served them, he would toss in brandy or rum, light it, and we would get an amazing show of blue flames licking up the sides of our food. He would set it down at table, still sizzling, and it was one of the best things I ever ate. I make it now, and it will always be a family staple — a dish that is both yummy and entertaining.

Sweet potatoes

1/3 to 1/2 cup sliced but not melted butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

One or two whole star anise

1/3 cup brandy or rum

Boil sweet potatoes until a knife comes out easily. Cool and remove the skins. Slice into thick rounds and arrange attractively in a baking dish. Dot with butter and sprinkle with brown sugar. Place star anise close to middle. Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes until butter and sugar are bubbling. Cool for 10 minutes.

When about to serve, warm the dish again and pour the brandy over the potatoes. Immediately light the alcohol on fire tilting the pan slightly to burn off all alcohol. Serve. (The trick is to have the dish warm, but not too hot so the brandy will burn.)