Sweet Potato and Pancetta Gratin

June 22, 2010


Author Notes: Making these in muffins tins allows you to easily multiply the recipe for your guests! - cnevertzcnevertz

Food52 Review: Far from a "sweet" sweet potato dish, these individual gratins get a big punch of flavor from the many layers of diced pancetta and Gruyere. Using a muffin tin allows for easy portioning, and if you choose your sweet potatoes carefully, the slices will fit perfectly into each compartment, which yields more polished personal gratins (if you care about that sort of thing; take note, Type A's!). Since this dish relies only on a few ingredients, the quality of each matters greatly. The more intense the Gruyere, the deeper the dish goes into savory territory. We say: bring it on! - A&MThe Editors

Serves: 12

Ingredients

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (1 pound)
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded (1 cup)
  • 4 ounces pancetta, diced small (1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Peel the sweet potato and slice into 1/8-inch thick rounds.
  3. Generously coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
  4. Put one slice of the sweet potato into each cup.
  5. Top each with about a teaspoon of the shredded gruyere and diced pancetta; sprinkle with a little salt and white pepper.
  6. Repeat twice, overlapping small sweet potato slices if necessary to make a layer and use all slices.
  7. Add any leftover cheese and pancetta on top.
  8. Spoon a tablespoon of heavy cream on top of each cup.
  9. Spray a sheet of aluminum foil with cooking spray and cover pan loosely with the foil, sprayed side down.
  10. Bake 20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake, uncovered, for an additional 20 to 25 minutes until the sweet potatoes are tender.
  11. Allow to cool 10 minutes before removing from muffin tin and serve as a side dish to your favorite main course.
  • This recipe is a Wildcard Contest Winner!

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Reviews (50) Questions (4)

50 Comments

Shortrib February 25, 2018
Used sweet potato cubes and sliced them into thinnish pieces, then assembled in an oval casserole dish, just like I would do scalloped potatoes. Easy and delicious! It did take significantly longer in the oven than indicated, no doubt because of the format. It was more like 40 mins under foil and another 40 uncovered.
 
Shortrib March 20, 2018
I should add that this would not have cut into neat squares for serving as it is too loose. But served at the table with a serving spoon works nicely! Delish!
 
Tippy C. January 14, 2018
I know this is an oldie, but it is really a goodie. I made it for a book group tonight and we all loved it. I do think that next time I will skip the muffin tins and make this in a larger pan then cut into appetizer sized squares. (I made half with pancetta and half without for those in my group that do not eat pork.)
 
Malka L. December 10, 2016
I have made these before but it's been a while. Question: When the recipe says, "repeat twice" does that mean to stack another layer of sweet potato, pancetta, and cheese in the SAME muffin tin? It seems I didn't do that last time. Also, I used smoked salmon for some instead of pancetta. Thank you. I want to make this again for my Christmas gathering.
 
Melody November 24, 2016
This was a total hit amongst my friends this Thanksgiving. Probably the favorite out of everything I made! Thanks for the great idea! I ended up using a gruyere/cheddar cheese from Trader Joe's, omitted the salt, used black pepper of white, used closer to a tsp of cream, and greased the tin with olive oil. So yummy. Great flavor combos.
 
Melody November 24, 2016
***Correction: tsp of cream per cup. Also, I rendered the pancetta prior to assembly.
 
Rosalba R. July 22, 2016
I am surprised the recipe calls for salt as well as pancetta? Pancetta is pretty salty as well as the Gruyere cheese? Just seems like lots of soduim. <br />
 
Emily |. November 28, 2015
Made these as a Thanksgiving side dish for a family that doesn't prefer truly sweet, sweet potatoes. They were great! I used smaller sweet potatoes (they almost looked like fingerlings) so I had to make overlapping rounds which made the preparation a little more tedious but was actually quite cute at the end, like tiny Pommes Anna. I also used a hard sharp white Dubliner cheese (I waited until the day before Thanksgiving and my local store didn't have Gruyere in stock) which worked great - it caramelized and gave a nice brown savory glaze. Because we have one small oven, I actually arranged the layers of potatoes, pancetta (which I did render first in a pan) and cheese 2 days in advance and kept them in the fridge covered with foil. On the night before Thanksgiving, I added the cream and baked off and removed from the muffin tins as directed. I stored in an airtight container overnight and reheated on a baking tray for about 8 minutes on Thanksgiving day in the oven after the turkey came out, which worked well.
 
Amy C. September 24, 2015
This is one of the easiest, most perfect sides to serve. Its a crowd pleaser and very easy to edit for vegetarians. It is my go-to in a pinch.
 
Donna W. August 5, 2015
I have been making these as appetizers using mini muffin tins for several years. Quality ingredients make the difference. I found New Seasons pancetta to be the best and has wonderful flavor. I do render the pancetta before assembling. Use fine shredder for cheese. The only ingredient I added to the recipe above is sauteed shallots and did omit adding the salt. Although white sweet potatoes work best, I sometimes add a layer or two of yams for color. Since I slice potato thin, I usually get four layers in mini tins. These are smaller than original recipe so cooking time will be less and I drop cooking temp a little. As a note: I found my Calphalon mini tins do not stick like others. <br />I assemble these early in the day (or night before) and keep covered in refrigerator...just before baking I add the heavy cream. This is my most requested appetizer. You may need to experiment a little to get the amount of each ingredient to match desired flavor. Great recipe!
 
ashley's B. December 15, 2014
Yum! Took these to a neighborhood gathering and they barely survived getting from the door to the table! Made some with chorizo, some with a smoky pepper bacon/pancetta combo. <br /> Made some in a muffin tin, others in a mini-loaf tin. (8 mini loafs to the pan.) I liked the ones in the mini-loaf tin: were easy to flip out with a spatula, then I cut them in half to make the more bite sized for appetizers.<br />I (also) don't do the "non-stick spray thing", so put a piece of parchment paper on top of each pan, then foil over that. Worked fine. <br />I browned the meats a bit first. Mostly I wanted to render some of the fat from the bacon and ensure it got cooked. Also didn't add salt since my meats were salty and strongly seasoned. Was fine.<br />My pans are non-stick and heavy. I didn't spray or oil them and didn't have any trouble with sticking, but there was a lot of grease from the cheese & cream. (dabbed it off with a paper towel/ poured it off). <br />Folks asked for the recipe, so I've forwarded this link on. I'll definitely make these again & will play with the proportions, depending on what I want at the time. (more/less sweet potato or cheese or meat).<br />I'll probably try this in a small gratin pan, then cut them into bite- or single-serving sizes. (I think keeping the pan size smallish will help ensure there's 'enough' crispiness.)<br />This definitely goes into my rotation of standards!!
 
Ann F. November 13, 2014
Do you think these would work with shredded sweet potatoes? Maybe in mini-muffin tins?
 
robi Z. September 28, 2014
I made these without pancetta, using one yam and one sweet potato. Amazing! (No problem getting them out of the tins. They did cook down as the cream was absorbed, so I will stack a bit higher next time and see how that goes.)
 
Kathy March 6, 2014
I'm making these for the second time! I use the white sweet potato instead of the orange and I found that after the first 20 minutes they were already tender and ready to enjoy. Thank goodness because I had misread the directions and my chicken was already done! Even reheated the next day the last couple were yummy. Would love to try with smokey bacon some time.
 
Katie K. January 30, 2014
I made these for a shower. The flavor was DELICIOUS but they got super oily while they cooked and ended up charring the sides of the tins. Any thoughts on why this happened? The flavor combination was delicious (and frankly people still ate them, albeit with a spoon out of the charred pan.) Should I have cooked the pancetta first? Too much cream??
 
Meagen January 22, 2014
My husband and I made several variations of this for Christmas dinner. We have lactose intolerant and vegetarian family members and we easily adapted this dish for them. The original dish is amazing and we had so many compliments. The best part is that this dish is so easy to throw together. We all loved it and will be making it again.
 
LizCo77 January 13, 2014
I made these with sharp white cheddar, bacon, and half & half because it's what was in the house. Plus I buttered the pan because I don't do the cooking spray thing. They were amazing! My fiancé ate almost the entire pan by himself....
 
JeanBee December 20, 2013
I have made these 3 times for different potlucks and they have always been huge hits! Without fail, someone asks me for the recipe. (One friend even said she wouldn't be giving away the recipe if she had "discovered" it first!) Major thanks to cnevertz for posting this and giving us all automatic wins at our parties and special occasions.
 
Jason October 11, 2013
I just made these for a hip fall potluck and they were a success. Scared by stories of the potato sticking to the muffin tin, i overloaded on oil, so they got a little crispier than i wanted, but they didn't stick! I didn't have much of an issue with shrinkage either. It seemed to me the muffin pan only came into play when adding the heavy cream, not sure how essential that was though. I also had to sub the pancetta for Guanciale, smoked bacon-esque meat from the cheek of the pig. Sounds gross, totally delicious though. Would recommend this one.
 
Ghost H. July 15, 2013
I chose several items from food52 site for my mother-in-law's wedding reception menu. This was the biggest hit by far! We made it in a big pan instead of in muffin tin for individual size. We still served it as starter by cutting into small bite size squares and placed them on a nice slate board. It saved baking time and worked really well.
 
robin L. November 28, 2014
I love this idea--a large pan, then you cut them into bite-sized squares? I wish I could see a picture of this. <br />
 
gustus February 14, 2013
My experience was much like housepanther's. The little pucks that could be chiseled out of the muffin tin were more trouble than they were worth. I like the combination of ingredients, but will combine them as a casserole in the future.
 
PaulaE January 27, 2013
My guests raved over this dish tonight. I used diced prosciutto instead of pancetta and it was savory, rich, even a bit mysterious. I dipped paper towel in olive oil and wiped the non-stick muffin tin cups. Removing the "cupcakes" was easy. Next time I plan to slice the yams lengthwise and do the layers in a small oval baking dish. <br /><br /><br />