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My mom makes a fantastic sweet potato casserole that is always the hit of Thanksgiving. It's a combination of pureed sweet potatoes, butter and brown sugar topped with marshmallows and baked until golden brown.
For this dessert I've taken the components from her casserole and broken them down into a modernist dessert. I take crispy sweet potato chips and top them with a fresh orange and brown sugar marshmallow. Then I finish it with a drizzle of molasses for extra flavor. The marshmallow and sweet potato chips can be made up to a day ahead of time.
Even though they won't replace my mom's casserole for me, they're still a hit at every party!
Also, if you are just getting started experimenting with molecular gastronomy and modernist cuisine then I highly recommend one of these molecular gastronomy kits. They have everything you need to do many different dishes.
Because they use modernist ingredients, these amounts are given in metric by weight. For more information on how to measure modernist ingredients check out this article.
Attach the whisk attachment to your standing mixer. Add the ingredients for the gelatin base and let the gelatin hydrate for 5 to 10 minutes.
Prepare a 33cm x 23cm (13" x 9") baking pan by spraying it with Pam. Combine the cornstarch and powdered sugar and sift some of the cornstarch mixture in the pan.
While the gelatin is blooming, combine the ingredients for the syrup in a sauce pan set over medium-high to high heat. Stir it lightly until the sugar is dissolved and then leave it alone while it heats. Cook the syrup until the temperature reaches 230°F to 240°F (110°C to 116°C).
Remove the syrup from the heat and pour it into the standing mixer on top of the bloomed gelatin and water. Turn the mixer on low and slowly increase the speed until it is on high, being careful not to splash the hot syrup out of the mixer.
Whip the marshmallow mixture until it has tripled in volume, it should take 8 to 15 minutes. When the marshmallows have almost been fully whipped, add the orange extract and make sure it is fully incorporated.
Pour the marshmallow mixture into the pan and spread it out evenly. Sift the top with some of the cornstarch mixture. Let the marshmallow set for several hours, or preferably cover with cling wrap and let sit overnight.
Dust a cutting board with the cornstarch mixture. Turn the marshmallows out onto the cutting board and cut into the shapes you want. Coat the shapes with the cornstarch mixture to prevent them from sticking to each other.
You can store the marshmallows for several days in a sealed container.
Place a sweet potato chip on a plate and top with a square of marshmallow then drizzle some molasses on top. You can also heat the assembled dessert in a low oven until warm.