To make sweet potato fries like those at Pappy's Smokehouse. If you've never been to St. Louis, you may not know of Pappy's. If you've been to St. Louis and haven't been to Pappy's, you should probably go back to try their barbecue! I've had Pappy's twice since moving to St. Louis. The first time it was catered, so I not only missed the "whole experience," but I also missed the sweet potato fries. The second time I went on a date and it was absolutely incredible (though we decided that we were in such good moods that about anything would have tasted good). Back to the sweet potato fries! My second experience with Pappy's was much more rewarding because I got to have their coleslaw and sweet potato fries. The fries were small and thin like fast food fries. The outside had a granulated, sweet crunch, but the inside was moist and tender. They weren't overly sweet. The minute I left, I knew I needed more! Adapted from The Art of Doing STUFF.
1 medium-sized sweet potato, with the ends cut off
1-2 teaspoons cornstarch
olive oil, for drizzling
salt, for sprinkling
dark brown sugar, for sprinkling
1. Slice the sweet potatoes into medium to small fries (I like mine a little thin but wide so they look flat). Place them in a bowl of water to minimize oxidation until you're ready to use them.
2. Place an oven rack in the center of your oven and place another rack directly below it. On the lower rack, place a seasoned baking stone. Preheat the oven to 425° with the baking stone in it. Give the oven about an hour to preheat and heat the baking stone.
3. Drain the sweet potato fries and give them a squeeze in a paper towel to remove excess water.
4. Place a bit of cornstarch in a large plastic bag. Add the sweet potatoes and shake to lightly coat the potatoes. Transfer the fries to a baking sheet with sides.
5. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and about a teaspoon of dark brown sugar. Stir to coat the fries with oil and seasoning.
6. Bake 15 minutes then remove the fries and baking stone from the oven. Stir, then transfer the fries to the baking stone, leaving behind any excess oil. Return to the oven and bake another 15 minutes or until the fries are just beginning to crisp on the outside.
7. Cool slightly and serve.
These are pretty close to Pappy's! The lack the chunk of particulate that Pappy's has. The outside is crisp and the inside is tender. The flavor is sweet.
Discussion and Future Directions
These are delicious! They are sweet and make the perfect health-conscious dessert. I dipped mine in a Cilantro&Chipotle dipping sauce to make them savory (see Supplementary Materials).The biggest difference was the lack of "crunch." Pappy's sweet potato fries have little granules of what must be some type of sugar on the outside. Next time, I would sprinkle the fries with sugar as soon as they come out of the oven. I can't decide what type of sugar to use, but I'm thinking I would try brown sugar while cooking for the flavor of the caramelized sugar and superfine granulated sugar to sprinkle on after baking. Even without the crunchy sugar, these are close enough for me to be satisfied!
Cilantro&Chipotle Dipping Sauce
Mix equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream. Stir in chopped cilantro and pureed chipotle in adobo, to taste. Mix well and serve.