YAM CAKES or YAM BISCUITS
Cider Beans, Wild Greens & Dandelion Jelly
by Joan E. Aller
This is a traditional Cherokee recipe. The Cherokee gathered wild sweet potatoes, or yams, and also cultivated their own vines. In earlier days they would have baked the yams in the ashes around the fire. These browned orange-colored biscuits are a favorite of mine. They're great with Cinnamon-Maple Butter (recipe below).
Makes 1 to 1½ dozen
• 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
• 2½ teaspoons baking powder
• 1½ teaspoons sugar
• 1½ teaspoons salt
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 1/2 cup milk
• 1 cup mashed cooked sweet potatoes or yams
PREHEAT the oven to 425°F
SIFT together the flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt into a bowl. Pour the oil and milk into a measuring cup, but do not stir them.
PLACE the yams in a large bowl, add the oil and milk, and blend well. Add the flour mixture and mix lightly with a fork until the mixture just holds together. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, about twelve kneading strokes. Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/4 inch and cut it into rounds with a floured biscuit cutter or a drinking glass.
PLACE the rounds on an ungreased baking sheet and bake for 10 to 20 minutes, until the yam cakes are golden brown. Let cool briefly on a wire rack, and serve hot.
CINNAMON MAPLE BUTTER
Makes about 2 cups
• 2 cups (4 sticks) butter, at room temperature
• 2 drops vanilla extract
• 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
IN A MEDIUM BOWL, combine the butter, vanilla, maple syrup, and cinnamon and whip until it is very light (you can use an electric mixer, a blender, a food processor, or a whisk). Pack the mixture into a butter mold or place it in a serving container and chill it in the refrigerator before using.