Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Maple-Glazed Apple and Sweet Potato Gratin

We’re having a potluck at work tomorrow, called a “Turkey Bubble” because a dedicated crew of volunteers deep fries enough turkeys to feed the hundreds of people on our team. We have the event the week before Thanksgiving. The Nelson-Atkins Museum staff holds their Thanksgiving potluck the week before too. In addition to the turkey, supplied by management where I work, individuals sign up to bring various dishes. Elly and I decided to make Maple-Glazed Apple and Sweet Potato Gratin, dividing the dish into two pans so we could each bring it to work.

The recipe comes from The Thanksgiving Table: Recipes and Ideas to Create Your Own Holiday Tradition by Diane Morgan. The gratin recipe we used is on page 109. Elly has baked this for several years. It is simple to make and delicious, but she modified the cooking approach somewhat. Morgan suggests slicing the sweet potatoes and apples raw and layering them in a buttered baking dish. Elly found the potatoes required much longer to cook than the recipe suggested, so she parboils the sweet potatoes before pealing and slicing them. This shortens the cooking time and works much better.

My role in all this was to stop at Whole Foods on the way home to pick up needed ingredients. I also made the gratin sauce and sliced apples (albeit under close supervision from the master chef). I chose organic Granny Smith apples, sweet potatoes, and pure maple syrup. The only ingredients we used that were not organic were the brown sugar and butter (unsalted). The gratin sauce is made by melting four tablespoons of butter, mixing in three tablespoons of all purpose flower and cooking through (about one minute), then adding 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 3/4 cups of maple syrup, and a half teaspon of salt, and simmering this until all the ingredients are desolved and the sauce thickens (about six minutes).

The sliced apples and potatoes are arranged in a glass baking dish, the sauce is poured over them, and then the dishes are covered with aluminum foil and baked in a preheated 350-degree oven for about an hour. Since we want to serve them warm, we will pop them back in the oven tomorrow morning, uncovered, and bake them at 450 until they are heated through and slightly browned. Here is one of the two dishes after baking for an hour tonight.

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