Sunday, August 30, 2015

9. Apple Tacos with Bailey's-Sweet Potato Pancake Shells, Fresh Blackberry Sauce and Whipped Cream


When I started this project, I wanted to display a variety of flavors, both savory and sweet.  Until this point, I hadn't done any sweet tacos, so I thought I'd wrap up this weekend with a Sunday brunch taco.

I had an apple taco stuck in my head.  But what kind of apple taco?  I tossed a few ideas around in my mind, and finally settled on a combination of apple and blackberry.  This flavor pairing makes me think of Ireland.  While I'm sure it's a thing in other places as well, I've come across more than one Irish recipe highlighting these two fruits.

I decided to go with the whole Irish theme.  If you're reading this and you're actually FROM Ireland, it's OK.  You can laugh.  We did visit Ireland a couple of years ago for a short vacation, and making these brought back some great memories.  I didn't actually EAT anything like this over there, but I remembered all the cool restaurants we found . . . and the food market in Cork . . . and the delicious vegetable soups and brown bread that they seem to have in every bar.  (Why is that not a thing here?)

I developed a taste for Irish coffees on that trip, too!  When I first thought about making brunch tacos the other day, I was planning on serving them with mimosas.  I changed my mind.  These tacos definitely needed Irish coffees on the side!  And bacon, because . . . duh.  It's brunch.  I also decided to throw some Bailey's in the recipe for good measure.

The sweet potato in the pancake isn't particularly Irish.  Actually . . . none of this is.  It's pretty delicious, though!  Here's what I did:

Apple Tacos with Bailey's-Sweet Potato Pancake Shells, Fresh Blackberry Sauce, and Whipped Cream

Makes 12-14 tacos, serving about 4 or 5


For the Bailey's-sweet potato pancake shells:

½ cup plus 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 small to medium sweet potato/yam (I used the Garnet variety), about 8 oz.
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 cup whole milk
¼ cup Bailey’s Irish cream
1 egg
1 tbsp. canola oil

Non-stick cooking spray

For the blackberry sauce:

One 6 oz. package fresh blackberries
2 tbsp. sugar

For the apple filling:

4 tbsp. butter
5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1/4 cup sugar
¼ tsp. cinnamon
1 tbsp. Bailey’s Irish cream
A pinch or two of freshly grated nutmeg

1 half-pint container of heavy whipping cream
A few large pinches of sugar

¼ cup walnut pieces and halves

1.  Place the walnuts on a sheet of foil or a baking sheet and toast them in a preheated 325 degree oven for about 5 minutes or until they are fragrant.  Process in a food processor until coarsely ground.  Set aside.  Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees.

2.  Poke the sweet potato several times with a fork.  Place on a sheet of foil or a baking sheet and roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until tender.  Reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees.  Allow  the sweet potato to cool.  Remove the peel.

3.  Make the blackberry sauce:  Place the blackberries and sugar in a blender and blend until very smooth.  If you wish, you can pass it through a fine-mesh strainer to avoid the seed pieces, but I usually don't bother doing that kind of thing.  I don't mind berry seeds!

4.  Make the pancake shell batter:  Place the cooked sweet potato flesh in a blender.  Add the rest of the shell ingredients and blend until smooth.  Transfer to a medium bowl.  Spray a large skillet with non-stick cooking spray and heat over medium-low heat.  Cook the pancakes, 3 at a time, using about 3 tablespoons of the batter for each one.  They should spread out to about the size of a street-taco tortilla.  Don't try flip them until they are almost set on the top!  As you finish them, stack them on a sheet of foil and place in a 200 degree oven to keep warm.

5.  Place the cream in a medium bowl and add sugar to taste.  Whip with a whisk until soft peaks form.  You can also use a hand mixer.  Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve the tacos.

6.  Make the apples:  Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the apples and sugar and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the cinnamon, Bailey's, and nutmeg.  Continue cooking until the apples are tender and the liquid has reduced, about 3 to 4 more minutes.

7.  Assemble the tacos.  For each taco, place a pancake shell on a plate.  Top with a small amount of the apple mixture.  Drizzle on some of the blackberry sauce.  Top with a spoonful of the whipped cream and garnish with a sprinkle of the ground walnuts.  Enjoy!

As you read this, you might be thinking, "Wow.  That's a lot of cream and butter."  You would be right.  You also might think, "How many calories is this?"  Just don't go there.  Make this on someone's birthday and you'll be good.  No, it's not healthy.  And the Irish coffees basically make this a double-whipped-cream operation.  Hmm . . . I'm not sure what to say about that.  Ha ha.

They were SO good, though!  I loved the pancakes.  The combination of sweet potato and Bailey's was delicious.  I could see eating these on their own with some kind of simple sauce or topping (maybe even maple syrup).  I'm hanging onto this recipe!

OK.  I have to admit - this is stretching the whole taco thing a bit.  You might be thinking, "Well that's dumb.  She just made pancakes and ate them with her hands."  Ha ha.  We had to laugh about that.  Yes, they were kind of like pancakes.  According to my project description, though, they still qualify as tacos.  The shell was stable enough to pick them up and we DID!  However, the whipped cream began melting as soon as we topped them.  It began to seep through the shell just a little bit.  They were a little messy, but they still worked.  I don't know how to fix this without eliminating the whipped cream, which I wouldn't recommend.  I would just top them and eat them immediately!

By the way, if you want to just make all of the components, call them pancakes, and eat them with a fork, go ahead.  You won't be disappointed.  Call them whatever you want - they taste amazing!  :)

Here's a description of the Irish coffees I made this morning if you'd like to include those!

Well, what do you think?  Please feel free to comment below!  Thanks for reading!

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