1½ lb small sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced*
2 tsp chopped fresh thyme, divided (or 1 tsp dry)
1 c (4oz) freshly shredded mozzarella or Gruyere cheese, divided*
2/3 c heavy cream (½ pint)
1 garlic clove, pressed
¾ tsp salt
¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
Garnish: fresh thyme or rosemary
Preheat oven to 350°. Layer half of sweet potatoes in a lightly greased 12-cup muffin pan. Sprinkle with a light layer of salt. Then sprinkle with ½ tsp dry thyme (or 1½ tsp fresh) and ½ cup cheese. Top with remaining sweet potatoes. (Potatoes should come slightly above the rim of each cup.)
Microwave cream, next 3 ingredients, and remaining ½ tsp thyme on high for 1 min. Pour cream mixture into muffin cups (about 1 Tbsp per cup). Bake at 350° covered with aluminum foil, 30 min. Uncover and sprinkle with remaining ½ cup cheese. Bake 5-7 min. or until cheese is melted and slightly golden. Let stand 5 min. Run a sharp knife around rim of each cup, and lift potato stacks from cups using a spoon or thin spatula. Transfer to a serving platter. Garnish, if desired.
-Try to buy potatoes that are no larger than about 2” wide. When sliced these fit nicely into the muffin tins. Stagger the slices as you stack to get a fully formed stack. Is you are unable to find long, slim sweet potatoes or yams, use a wider potato and cut the slice in half.
-Use sweet potatoes or yams that are orange in color, not the whiter type sweet potato.
-Make sure to stack the potatoes about ½” above the rim if you want a nice stack, the potatoes will shrink during baking.
-If you don't have a mini muffin pan, and want to serve these as an appetizer, just stack the potatoes about half way in the baking cup (instead of to the top) and bake until the edges are browned a bit. This will make them closer to bite size and they will hold together better when picked up.
-You can make these early and take them to a gathering. Just pop them into the oven for about 3 min. at 350° to warm them up a bit. Or they are fine served at room temperature.