The Perfectionist's Thanksgiving

See Also
The Feasts: Holiday Banquets to the Nth Degree
  Garnet Sweet-Potato Mille-Feuille With White-Truffle Royale and Shaved Truffles From Alba

The Chef
Thomas Keller of Per Se

8 people

5 large garnet sweet potatoes, peeled
1 ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 sticks butter, clarified 
1 cup milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 eggs
3 to 4 tablespoons white-truffle oil, to taste
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
White truffle, shaved (optional)

Cooking Instructions
The day before, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice the sweet potatoes very thinly, about 1/16 inch, on a mandoline. Cut parchment paper to fit a 10-by-4-by-4-inch loaf pan so that the bottom and sides are fully covered, leaving a 2-inch overlap on either side (the front and back walls of the pan do not have to be covered). Place the sliced sweet potatoes in the pan with a very small overlap between slices to completely cover the bottom. Sprinkle with salt and brush lightly with clarified butter. Repeat this step until the pan is full. Cover with foil and bake in the oven until tender, about 11/4 hours. Remove foil and pour off the water and fat. Cover the top with a piece of parchment paper and press down using a piece of cardboard cut to fit the area. Allow to cool to room temperature with a 2-pound weight on top. This helps to eliminate the gaps between the layers of sweet potato. Place in the refrigerator and allow to cool overnight, and continue pressing with the weight on top.

The next day, preheat the oven to 275 degrees. Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a saucepan. Put the eggs, truffle oil, and salt in a blender, and while running on the lowest setting, start adding the hot cream and milk. Strain through a sieve and remove excess bubbles from the surface with a spoon to prevent air holes from forming. Pour this mixture on top of the chilled sweet potatoes. Place the loaf pan inside a pan with taller sides and fill with boiling water until it is 1 inch below the top of the loaf pan. Wrap the top of the outer pan with three layers of foil and bake in the oven until the royale is set, about 11/2 to 2 hours.  

Allow the mille-feuille to cool for 10 minutes and remove from the pan using the parchment paper on either side to lift it out. Shave white truffles on top. Cut into slices and serve.

Best With
Suggested Menu: sunchoke soup with virginia-ham croquettes; virginia-ham croquettes; breast of four corners farm's turkey "cuit sous vide" and roasted leg "en ballotine"; giblet gravy; green-bean casserole: Oven-baked haricots verts with cream of california cepe mushroom and crispy shallots; garnet sweet-potato mille-feuille with white-truffle royale and shaved truffles from alba; Waldorf-salad stuffing; pecan pie with whipped cream; caramel popcorn.

To Drink: Weinbach 2002 Gewurztraminer Cuvee Theo; Alsace, France ($40)

Photograph by Reinhard Hunger