Thursday, April 4, 2013

Pineapple Orange Stuffed Sweet Potatoes or Yams

Single Serving of Yams with Platter of more in Background
Two Giant Yams Divided by 6

Recipe adapted from old photocopy

During the early days of spring, many of us await strawberries and other early-season produce none too patiently. In the meantime, I’m drawn to tropical fruits that are harvested year-round, like bananas and pineapples. ‘Course, they’re not exactly local, but are still “in season.” It’s a perfect time to use up the last of the wintry veggies, before we start harvesting their spring counterparts. Like the two gigantic yams (or sweet potatoes?) I've had since January. It’s also the perfect time to enjoy oranges; soon their season will be just a memory.

Four stuffed Yam Halves on Platter
3 Yams are Best (see recipe)  but Any Quantity Works
In a recent post I talked about my huge box of loose recipes. I suspect that many readers have a similar box o’ recipes, whether physical or virtual (I’m a little envious if yours is digital and/or organized). This is another recipe from my stack, and it sounds very much like a recipe from the Hawaii Kai cookbook, a compendium of Hawaiian-influenced recipes concocted at a NYC restaurant in the 1960s. Alas, I don’t see this recipe in their index. Memory fail!

Yams with Pineapple, sugar, butter, rum, and orange peel ready to mix
Mixing Ingredients Couldn't be Simpler
It’s really hard to create a not-delicious dish with yams, oranges, brown sugar, rum, and butter. The pineapple and nutmeg add unexpected flair to the recipe. In addition to assuaging the palates of winter-veggie-weary awaiters of spring harvest, this dish can lend a nontraditional element to winter holiday feasts. Thanks to the unknown source that provided the basics of the recipe. I’ll post their name if I locate it.

Small plate of yams
Last of the Yams for the Season
Pineapple Orange Stuffed Sweet Potatoes or Yams
serves 6

2½ lbs. uniformly shaped sweet potatoes or yams
1½ tbsp. butter
1 (14 oz.) can crushed pineapple
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. rum
1 tbsp. grated orange peel
1/8 tsp. salt
a few dashes white pepper
~¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

It’s ideal to choose 3 equal-sized yams so that each diner is served ½ stuffed yam. However, any combination of yams totaling about 2½ lbs. will work in this recipe.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Wash yams and scrub with brush, but do not peel. Bake yams till tender. Test by squeezing. Timing depends upon the yam size and variety, but plan for about 1 hour. Check at 45 minutes. If not soft, check again at 15 minute intervals.

Drain pineapple thoroughly in sieve. Press out as much moisture as possible with a wooden spoon.

Cut baked yams in half lengthwise evenly with sharp knife. Scoop out contents of each half carefully; you will be re-stuffing and reheating the skins, so leave them in the baking pan. Put yams into small mixing bowl and mash thoroughly with potato masher.

Add butter to yams and mix until melted. Add drained pineapple, brown sugar, rum, and orange peel. Stir to combine. Add salt and pepper and stir thoroughly to distribute.

Spoon or pipe yam filling into yam skins. Dust yams with nutmeg to taste.

Return yams to oven and reheat until slightly browned on top. 

Tea Strainer of Nutmeg Above Yams
Use Tea Strainer to Sift Nutmeg Evenly onto Yams


  1. Wow…this is really special. It looks so nice. It seem like a dessert, but I think add some cheese on top and bake, it can be a yummy appetizer. I love to have fruits in the stuffing, it should be really yummy. :)

  2. That's a brilliant idea to stuff small yams for appetizers, Yung. A mild cheese (mozzarella or young cheddar maybe) on top would look great and taste fine with the pineapple. Thanks for your comment!

    1. Another idea for this recipe as an appetizer: serve with crackers and bowl of shaved cheese. Guests scoop yam and pineapple onto their crackers and top with sprinkling of cheese, maybe Romano, Gouda or something fancier? Cheese experts, help me out! :)