Chef Harold Dieterle, winner of the first season of Bravo’s Top Chef, offers his take on a classic side dish. Cassia is a spice similar to cinnamon but has a more intense flavor and is best suited to savory or sweet-savory dishes like this one. If you can’t find it, regular cinnamon is a fine substitute. — Will Budiaman
- 5 Okinawa purple yams or Japanese yams, peeled and diced
- 1 butter, at room temperature
- 1/4 dark brown sugar
- 1 cassia or cinnamon
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 corn syrup
- 1/2, 6 ½ plus tablespoons sugar
- 4 water
- 1 1/2 sheets gelatin
- 2 1/2 egg whites
- 1 vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Mix the butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and add the yams and coat well. Place the yams on baking sheets and bake for 20 minutes or until tender.
Combine the corn syrup, sugar, and water in a small pot and place over low heat, stirring occasionally until the softball stage (temperature will be around 235-245 degrees as measured by a candy thermometer).
Meanwhile, place the gelatin in a bowl of ice water until it blooms, about 6 minutes. Drain and set aside. When the sugar mixture is fully cooked, whisk in the gelatin. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric stand mixer bowl and whip on low speed until foamy.
Increase speed to medium and slowly stream the hot sugar and gelatin mixture into the whites. Once the sugar and gelatin mixture is fully incorporated, increase speed to high and whip until white and fluffy.
When the stand mixer bowl is cool to the touch, add the vanilla extract and whip on low just to incorporate. Arrange the yams on a platter and spoon the marshmallow fluff over them. If desired, brûlée the fluff using a butane torch.