This second holiday recipe comes from Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home by Julia Child and Jacques Pepin, originally published in 1999. Enjoy!
Julia's Plain Mashed Sweet Potatoes
2 lbs. sweet potatoes
1 teaspoon or more salt
freshly ground white pepper
2 tablespoons or more room temperature butter
half-and-half or heavy cream or milk
a few gratings of fresh ginger, to taste (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Meanwhile, scrub the potatoes under running hot water, remove any blemishes, and plunge a small sharp knife down about an inch into each potato in 5 or 6 places, to let out baking steam.
2. Arrange the potatoes a prepared baking pan, in 1 layer. Bake in the lower middle level of the preheated oven for about an hour, or until they are thoroughly tender when squeezed and a knife pierces through them easily. Cut each potato in half lengthwise and then open up to cool.
3. Scrape the flesh into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, and mash with a mixing fork or potato masher. Or put them in your heavy-duty mixer to break out at slow speed with the paddle attachment--careful not to go too fast and turn them gluey. Blend in salt and pepper, and the butter and/or cream or milk. Taste very carefully and correct seasoning, folding in the optional fresh ginger to taste.