Sweet Potatoes Anna with Prunes

By mrsp
November 11, 2009

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: This can be finished with a dusting of sugar and a couple of minutes of broiling, for a brulee top. It can also be done using apples and prunes, or just apples.mrsp

Food52 Review: This layered sweet potato gratin comes out of the oven caramelized on the edges and glistening with butter. The potatoes in the center are soft, their layers embedded with prunes; the ones around the edges are so crisp and sweet from the port, they taste candied. Slice the potatoes thinly -- use a mandoline if you have one -- and check the potatoes after 35 minutes in the oven. By 40 minutes, ours was perfect. - A&MThe Editors

Serves: 6-10

Ingredients

  • 5-6 sweet potatoes, sliced very thinly using a mandoline
  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 1 cup port
  • 10 pitted prunes
In This Recipe

Directions

  1. Melt 1/2 pound butter and clarify. (Skim off the foam & milk solids until all that remains is clear butterfat.)
  2. Heat a cup of port and soak ten pitted prunes until slightly plumped, about 20 minutes. Drain and chop the prunes coarsely.
  3. Preheat oven to 450.
  4. Brush clarified butter onto your favorite eight- or nine-inch round baking dish or oven-proof frying pan.
  5. Put a layer of potatoes, overlapping in circles, in the dish. Brush with clarified butter, and salt and pepper. Put another layer of potatoes and about half the prune pieces. Salt and pepper. Brush with clarified butter. Repeat two more layers, embedding the rest of the prunes at the end and brushing each layer with clarified butter and salt and pepper. You can do four layers of potatoes or six, it's up to you. Pack the potatoes tightly. If there's a little butter left at the end, it's no big deal.
  6. Bake at 450 for 45-60 minutes until crisp and tender.
  7. Remove from oven when crisp and tender. After a few minutes, flip onto a serving plate.

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Reviews (51) Questions (10)

51 Reviews

pamela N. December 6, 2016
Made this for Thanksgiving...it was a smashing success! Even non-eaters of sweet potatoes tried it (after all the others were awed by the yumminess) and loved it. Will definitely make again. Used a mandoline and cooking time was fine. Thank you!
 
Douglas B. November 24, 2016
I have not made this dish in well over a year and am making it for thanksgiving. It is divine. sweet and savory. I loved reading the other things people have added below too. Thanks community
 
Kristy Z. January 25, 2014
We loved this recipe. I followed it to the tee each time I made it. It is a new standard in our house and in addition to following this recipe (Which is delicious), I also play around with it and make it several ways now. Sometimes I add crispy bacon, sauteed onions, or just plain with potatoes, ghee, salt and pepper. There are a a lot of possibilities with this recipe. Thanks so much!
 
Sewassbe December 24, 2013
I made this last christmas and while I loved the flavor (I added lots of black pepper), the sweet potatoes took FOREVER to cook. I had sliced them as thinly as possible by hand, but I think either parboiling them first, or using a mandoline slicer is really the key here. They were in the oven for over an hour, and were still nearly crunchy when I took them out (at a party, so that was stressful). Still - we used the leftovers with leftover pork roast and black beans and made the most wonderfully delicious stew. I loved the flavor of the sweet potatoes, prunes, and black pepper with the pork, bacon, and black beans. Yum!
 
Sujatha December 1, 2013
Wasnt impressed with this dish. Pureed the plums w/ some of the soaking port after they were cool, i think that worked better than pieces. But kind of blah beyond that. Decided to bake in a foil-wrapped 8-inch springform pan (which is NOT what directions specify) b/c i thought it would be easier to de-pan -- this was NOT a good idea, as the butter all leaked out of the pan and into the oven. Perhaps the flavor of the dish leaked out along with the butter???
 
noahluck December 9, 2012
Ugh, this was the first dish in a while that we simply threw away. It simply became a loose pile of plain sweet potato chips. Most of the instructions for this recipe are missing in retrospect, and the guesswork involved will lead to a wide variety of outcomes. I might try again and precook the sweet potatoes, or at least soak them.
 
artist342 December 6, 2012
I made this for a holiday dinner potluck last week,and it disappeared so fast that I didn't get any!!! I made a 12" version, and think 10" would be much easier to manage. It's fantastic, folks.
 
The P. November 21, 2012
Can I use ghee instead of clarified butter?
 
Layla C. January 5, 2014
Ghee is clarified butter.
 
Albickoff November 13, 2012
Is there anything that you can use other than port? Maybe something non-alcoholic?
 
thirschfeld November 13, 2012
hot water to soften them, more often then not, is how I do it.
 
FloraTheMachine November 22, 2014
Yes of course. You could soak them in something else for flavor.
 
Polly H. November 7, 2012
Peeled -- got it!
 
Jill C. November 5, 2012
What a great recipe! Perfect for T'sgiving. How far in advance can it be assembled?
 
Jill C. November 5, 2012
What a great T'giving recipe! how far in advance can it be assembled? The morning of?
 
artisanal April 3, 2012
I love how everyone commented on this being perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas. To me, this sounds like the perfect spin on Passover tsimmes!
 
ChefJune June 28, 2012
Well, it lolks like Tzimmes to me, too. And I'm thinking of it for Rosh Hashanah. Sweet for the new year!
 
Jazzball January 20, 2012
SO much butter!! What about using olive oil instead?
 
deanna1001 December 26, 2011
So beautiful with the Christmas ham! I soaked the prunes in Madeira (I had on hand.) Fabulous!
 
Waverly December 25, 2011
This is a wonderful recipe. I made it over the holidays and everyone loved it.
 
BonEllen November 23, 2011
I'm making this tomorrow to bring to Thanksgiving... and wondering how folks have served this? Did you use a knife and cut it into pie-shaped wedges? Or can you scoop and serve with a spoon?
 
DP November 20, 2011
Made this today with raisins instead of prunes and added a pinch of ground nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. It was incredible!
 
DP November 20, 2011
Made this today with raisins instead of prunes and added a pinch of ground nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. It was incredible!
 
Hloper November 19, 2011
I saw a recipe in which the directions included, "reverse the direction of your layers to increase stability." <br />This might address the problem one cook experienced where it just slid apart. I haven't cooked the recipe yet, but that did seem like a good tip to add to the recipe's instructions.