This is a dessert that you will not see served at a Mexican restaurant. This is a traditional Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) warm and comforting home-style dessert. Go south of the border with your sweet potatoes!
In honor of Día de los Muertos my daughter and I made a very special dish my grandmother used to make called camotes enmielado, also known as candied sweet potatoes. It is a warm and comforting home-style dessert. The sweet potatoes simmering with piloncillo, cinnamon, anise, and cloves gives off a sweet and earthy scent, reminding us that fall has arrived. It’s sweet but not rich and actually tastes similar to traditional Thanksgiving yams, but without the butter and marshmallows. These sweet potatoes are slow simmered on the stovetop and bathed in a piloncillo (unrefined whole cane sugar) syrup. This recipe is perfect for Día de los Muertos or for a Latin twist to your Halloween or Thanksgiving menu. This dessert can also be made with pumpkins or squash instead of the sweet potatoes.
The piloncillo tastes very similar to brown sugar with a more smoky molasses flavor. Piloncillo is available at Latin supermarkets or sometimes in the Latin aisle of grocery stores, but if you can’t find it you can substitute with brown sugar.
Serve a couple of slices of the soft and tender sweet potatoes onto a plate with some of the flavorful syrup and drizzle with milk. I like to drizzle mine with sweetened condensed milk for an added dimension of flavor.
Camotes Enmielado (Candied Sweet Potatoes)
- In 3-quart saucepan, place water, piloncillo, cinnamon sticks, anise stars and whole cloves. Heat to boiling, stirring with wooden spoon until piloncillo dissolves.
- After 5 minutes, add sweet potatoes. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 40 to 45 minutes.
- Remove and discard cinnamon sticks, anise stars and cloves. Reserve syrup.
- Serve sweet potatoes topped with reserved warm sweet syrup. Garnish with milk.