Bake Crème Brûlée Directly In A Japanese Sweet Potato For A Dessert Fit For Billionaires

We bet you'll encounter your next favorite treat when you visit Tokyo and try all of the street foods there. In particular, one treat from Imo Pippi in Asakusa, Tokyo, has us drooling: the eight-dollar delicious crème brûlée (or custard) baked directly inside a roasted Japanese sweet potato. And, you can ask to top it with ice cream for just a few dollars extra. While this delightful treat is classified as a street food and won't empty your pockets, it tastes so divine that it's a dessert fit for billionaires. With each spoonful, you get crunchy sugar, satiny crème brûlée, and caramelized sweet potatoes. 

Understandably, not everyone can make the trip to Japan and try Imo Pippi's desserts. Fortunately, it's possible to recreate this dessert and easily bake crème brûlée directly in a Japanese sweet potato at home. First, grab a few satsumaimo (Japanese sweet potatoes) from your local Asian supermarkets. Satsumaimo have purplish-reddish-brown skin and are flaky, tender, sweet, and buttery once baked. You don't get a mouthful of fibrous strands like you get with orange yams, and they aren't overly starchy. Once you have your Japanese sweet potatoes, wash them and roast them in the oven at around 425 F until tender, which takes about an hour. Meanwhile, make the crème brûlée base, which you will later bake directly in the hollowed-out roasted sweet potatoes once they are cooked and cooled. 

Baked sweet potatoes replace ramekins when making this viral dessert from Japan

The simple crème brûlée base is easy to whip up and has just four ingredients: egg yolks, granulated sugar, heavy cream, and either salt or some miso. The one tricky part about making crème brûlée roasted sweet potatoes at home is gauging how much of the potato should be hollowed out. Too much, and you risk the liquidy crème brûlée base leaking out of the potato vessel. Too little, and you have too much sweet potato and not enough crème brûlée with each bite. A good place to start is to hollow out about two to three tablespoons of sweet potato flesh, leaving the sides and bottom a little thicker to hold the crème brûlée base.

Once the crème brûlée base is inside the sweet potato, bake everything at 325 F for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the crème brûlée is set while the center is still wobbly. Top with a layer of granulated sugar and broil or use a torch to melt the sugar layer into a single piece of crunchy, caramelized sugar. And, there you have it. Simply by baking crème brûlée directly in a Japanese sweet potato, you'll get a dessert fit for billionaires and a taste of Japan's magical street food.