Adapted from Gotham Bar and Grill Cookbook by Alfred Portale
This is really, really good and really, really easy. You can even make it ahead of time and heat it up in the microwave just before serving. You don't even need a mixer to mash the sweet potatoes, they are so soft that a hand masher works. This will become one of your favorite and most useful recipes because it goes with so many dishes, and you can easily increase the amount you make.
4 large sweet potatoes (2 pounds total), a thin slice cut from one end of each potato (to avoid exploding in the oven)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup (I like Grade A Dark Amber or even Grade B because they are dark and flavorful)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the sweet potatoes until tender when pierced with a cake tester or fork. This will take about 1 hour.
When done, remove the potatoes from the oven, slit them open.
If you are going to serve them quickly, scoop the flesh into a medium saucepan. Add the butter and maple syrup. Mash or stir (because they should be very soft) the potatoes over very low heat until they are smooth, and the butter is incorporated, about 1 minute. Season with salt.
You can keep the potatoes warm for a little while placing the saucepan in a skillet of simmering water over low heat.
If preparing ahead of time, place the flesh in a bowl. Add the butter and maple syrup. Mash or stir the potatoes until the butter is incorporated, and the texture is the way you like it. Cover and set aside.
When ready to heat, put a plate on top of the bowl (because you do not want to heat plastic wrap), and heat for 3 minutes in microwave. Stir again, and serve.