Sweet Potato and Apple Gratin

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When you hear the term comfort food you probably think heavy, caloric, fatty….

But that’s simply not the full story. Eating comfort food on a cold winter day can be just what the doctor ordered–especially after a day of hiking, running or anything that’s appetite inducing.

Most of us like comfort food–what you might call a Gratin. And anything baked or crusted goes in the comfort food category in my book! Gratin is just what the French call putting a browned crust on a dish using breadcrumbs, grated cheese or egg and butter.

Last night–a pre-Halloween Saturday night meal–I got to cook for three wonderful people. I decided to use a recipe I grabbed from my favorite magazine Oprah. This one I took from the famous chef Wolfgang Puck who I mostly associate with the high-end version of “mall food” (thinking South Coast Plaza right now) but wins points with me for this deliciously cozy and easy to prepare recipe.

Ingredients for Sweet Potato and Apple Gratin:

4 Tbsp. light whipped butter
2 large Granny Smith apples peeled cored and cut into 1/3 inch slices
2 large sweet potatoes peeled and cut crosswise into 1/3 thick rounds
2 cups heavy cream (or half and half or milk)
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg (I used pumpkin spice instead)
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt)
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3/4 cup fresh bread crumbs (I used Panko- what I had in the cabinet)


I prefer things very crisp and browned as you can see.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Use either butter or spray to grease your 9 x 13 baking dish; set aside. In a large skillet over medium-heat, melt 2 tablespoons of your butter. Add your apples and cook stirring occasionally until caramelized. Let them cook for ten minutes. Meanwhile in a large bowl mix sweet potatoes with heavy cream, nutmeg (or pumpkin spice, salt, cinnamon and pepper.

2. Transfer half of sweet potatoes to prepared dish, arranging them in an overlapping pattern like a layered lasagna. Cover with apples, then remaining yams, overlapping with apples and more yams. Pour any remaining cream over the top. Cover with foil and bake until tender, about 45 minutes.

3. Increase oven temp to 500 degrees. Uncover dish, scatter bread crumbs over the top and dot with remaining tablespoon butter. Bake keeping a close eye on the grain in case bread crumbs burn. Cook until golden brown on top 8 to 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

Makes 8 servings. Active time 30 minutes. Total time 1 1/2 hours.

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