My brother Ed, our friend Jasper and Jasper’s father all make a sweet potato and apple casserole for Thanksgiving. I’ve had all three. Each makes his just a bit different than the others. Ed gave me his recipe, but also referred me to a recipe at Food & Wine from Jasper White, not our Jasper.
I still remember Jasper White’s appearance as a guest chef on an episode of In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs, one of Julia Child’s PBS cooking shows. He made pan-roasted lobster. I can still see and smell that pan of lobster in my dreams. I don’t know if this New York Times recipe for pan-roasted lobster is the same one he made with Julia, but it looks pretty close.
But let’s get back to sweet potatoes. The Food & Wine recipe is an adaptation of one in his cookbook, Jasper White’s Cooking from New England. Since I only had 1/2 cup of maple syrup, instead of the whole cup the recipe called for, I increased the cider by 1/2 cup to make up for the missing liquid. I also added one tablespoon of maple sugar to boost the maple flavor.
This recipe is easy to make, aside from slicing lots of sweet potatoes and apples. Slicing would be easier with a mandoline but that’s one kitchen appliance I never bought. The leftovers, if you have any, make a delicious breakfast.
Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes and Apples
You’ll need a 9″ by 13″ baking dish, medium saucepan, aluminum foil, and baster (optional – could use a spoon).
- 2 + 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2-1/2 to 3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced ¼” thick
- 2 pounds Granny Smith apples (4 large)–peeled, halved, cored, sliced ¼” thick
- 3-4 strips bacon, chopped
- 1 cup pure maple syrup (less is okay if that’s all you have)
- 3/4 cup apple cider
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease the baking dish using 2 tablespoons of the butter. Alternating the sweet potato and apple slices, arrange them tightly, standing on their edges, leaning with this angle / in the dish. If you don’t have enough for the dish, use more of an angle.
In a medium saucepan, sauté the bacon. Then add the maple syrup, cider, 4 tablespoons of the butter, salt and pepper. Simmer over moderate heat for 5 minutes. Pour the mixture over the slices and cover the dish securely with foil. Bake in the center of the oven for 40 minutes, or until the apples release their juices.
Remove the dish from the oven, uncover and baste the apples and sweet potatoes with the pan juices. Increase the oven temperature to 450 and place the dish in the upper third of the oven. Continue baking for about 35 minutes longer, basting a few more times, until the sweet potatoes are tender and nicely glazed. Mine didn’t appear glazed but that might be due to the decreased amount of maple syrup. Serve hot.
The recipe can be prepared up to one day in advance and refrigerated. Reheat, covered, in a 400 oven for 25-30 minutes.
Serves 8-10 people as a generous side dish.
Original recipe: Maple-Glazed Sweet Potatoes & Apples, Food & Wine