Individual Sweet Potato Gratins with Creme Fraiche, Onions, and Bacon

By Erin McDowell
September 24, 2009
38 Comments


Author Notes: My boyfriend is an overall carb hater (I never thought that was possible), but he's a sucker for sweet potatoes. The bacon gets crisp and the onions get soft and make this gratin super delicious. Individual portions mean I can make a big batch, and reheat it later as a last-minute side dish.Erin McDowell

Food52 Review: Sweet potatoes are often made even more sweet using ingredients like maple syrup, brown sugar, molasses, and even marshmallows. We like that apartmentcooker goes definitively in the other direction by adding bacon, parmesan, onion, garlic and a crème fraîche bechamel, while still paying homage to more traditional recipes (she adds a tablespoon of brown sugar to the bechamel, with delightful results). Thinly sliced sweet potatoes are layered in the baking dish (we used one dish big enough for two rather than individual ones) with bechamel, crisped bacon, and raw onions and garlic, which infuse the gratin with their fragrance. A sprinkling of parmesan on top helps with browning, but if you want a little more color, pop the gratin under the broiler for a few minutes at the end. We found that 20-25 minutes baking time was perfect for a two-person baking dish. - A&MThe Editors

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 4 pieces bacon, diced
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 cups sweet potatoes, thinly sliced (1/8" thick)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
  • parmesan cheese, grated, to taste

Directions

  1. Lightly grease 2 individual baking dishes (I used a bowl that holds roughly 1 1/2 cups). Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small saute pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Remove from heat, and toss with onion and garlic.
  3. In a small pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour, and cook until the mixture is well combined but still pale. Stir in the milk and the creme fraiche.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and bring the bechamel to a simmer. Stir in nutmeg, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.
  5. Layer 4-6 slices of potato at the base of each of the prepared baking dishes. Top with a few tablespoons of bechamel, and a few spoonfuls of the bacon mixture. Repeat with another layer of potatoes, another layer of bechamel, and more bacon. Top with one last layer of potatoes, and spoon remaining bechamel over the top. Finish with a sprinkling of grated parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake the gratins until they are bubbly around the edges and cooked through, about 15-20 minutes. Let cool slightly before serving.

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Reviews (38) Questions (3)

38 Comments

Bawa November 30, 2017
I made this as one larger gratin for Thanksgiving 2017. I assembled it the day before and parked in the fridge, so baking took at least an hour. It came out tasty but ugly with the bechamel sauce broken and watery. I have a suspicion this is related to the volume of a larger dish and longer baking time required, because a smaller portion I assembled with what wouldn’t fit in my large dish did not suffer the same outcome. Other than this problem, the recipe is delicious as written, but IMO could use a little bit of acid to balance the sweet, or maybe some lemon zest.
 
fidelio November 13, 2016
This is delicious! The ultimate comfort food. To me creme fraiche + onions + bacon were screeming for caraway... so I left the nutmeg out and the sugar as well. The outcome was just great! But I am sure nutmeg would work out great as well! 20 minutes were perfectly fine for the potatos to be soft. This will become a regular in our home, for sure!
 
LizCo77 April 4, 2014
Soooo awesome! I used almond milk because it's what I had on hand, and made the bechemel with a bit of GF oat flour and arrowroot powder instead if regular flour. So delicious it made a sweet potato hater into a lover!
 
Vintage K. March 26, 2014
Yummers!<br />
 
Kelly D. August 1, 2013
Best sweet potato dish I have ever had! Simply perfect!
 
Chloe8 June 15, 2013
My first attempt at using sweet potato in gratins, success!
 
CharlieR March 4, 2012
Lovely that this makes two. Keeps me from having to tweak the amounts. <br /> <br />Can't wait to try this!
 
Manhattan T. February 18, 2012
It's still pretending to be "winter" in Southern California (y'know, low '60's at the beach, less perpetual sun) and I was dying to make this so, despite its Thanksgiving-y nature, I whipped it together to bring to a dinner party. I tripled the recipe, using 4-5 large sweet potatoes sliced VERY thin on a mandoline, subbed a hefty tsp. of ground mustard for the brown sugar, caramelized the onions in the bacon fat (I was worried about the additional moisture they'd give off; I've been burned by too many runny gratins), subbed sour cream for the creme fraiche (it was unintentional and unavoidable), used Fontina in place of the Parm (my husband thinks Parm tastes like foot...don't ask) and layered everything in a ginormous 10x15" pyrex dish. We baked it for about 70 minutes (or longer; I was drinking wine by then...) and then let it set for another 15 or so minutes to allow it all to gel a bit. IT WAS FABULOUS. The dinner party of 8 RAVED. There were many trips back for seconds and not copious amounts of leftovers (like there frequently are with other gratins). I can't wait to make this again -- I just need the weather to cooperate!
 
casadelmonte November 25, 2011
I made thus yesterday for the neighbours, followed the recipe, I did however double all quantities and placed in a big casserole. Cooked for about 40 minutes, and it looked FAB, very lovely browning YUMMIE. That was until we ate it, the sweet potato hadn't cooked :( I was really sad and embarrassed. Warning everyone if you make this in a larger quantity you need to test with a fork that it is cooked. Of course you Americans are all so polite, everyone said it was delicious, not true, I do plan on popping what's left into the oven again today.
 
My P. November 23, 2011
I love this recipe. We just finished off one batch and I am starting another one for Thanksgiving. I doubled the recipe and taking a few types from other readers left out the sugar and added some dry mustard. It baked up beautifully in 30 minutes (2.5 quart dish). Thank you for sharing!
 
casadelmonte November 23, 2011
I am not an American, but am living here and loving it, I have been tasked with the sweet potato dish for my neighbours Thanksgiving, so have been hitting the web looking for inspiration. This is the recipe I am going for. Can't imagine liking a vegetable with a marshmallow topping, sounds appalling. Do people really like that? I like desserts but not to eat a dessert with meat.
 
casadelmonte November 23, 2011
I am not an American, but am living here and loving it, I have been tasked with the sweet potato dish for my neighbours Thanksgiving, so have been hitting the web looking for inspiration. This is the recipe I am going for. Can't imagine liking a vegetable with a marshmallow topping, sounds appalling. Do people really like that? I like desserts but not to eat a dessert with meat.
 
casadelmonte November 23, 2011
I am not an American, but am living here and loving it, I have been tasked with the sweet potato dish for my neighbours Thanksgiving, so have been hitting the web looking for inspiration. This is the recipe I am going for. Can't imagine liking a vegetable with a marshmallow topping, sounds appalling. Do people really like that? I like desserts but not to eat a dessert with meat.
 
casadelmonte November 23, 2011
I am not an American, but am living here and loving it, I have been tasked with the sweet potato dish for my neighbours Thansgiving, so have been hitting the web looking for inspiration. This is the recipe I am going for. Can't imagine liking a vegetable with a marshmallow topping, sounds appalling. Do people really like that? I like desserts but not to eat a dessert with meat.
 
casadelmonte November 23, 2011
I am not an American, but am living here and lovibg it, I have been tasked with the sweet potato dish for my neighbours Thansgiving, so have been hitting the web looking for inspiration. This is the recipe I am going for. Can't imagine liking a vegetable with a marshmallow topping, sounds appalling. Do people really like that? I like desserts but not to eat a dessert with meat.
 
BradM November 22, 2011
When you call for sweet potatoes, are these yams or really sweet potatoes? Some use them interchangeably, and I would like to make this for Thanksgiving (I don't like the traditional sweet stuff)
 
My P. November 23, 2011
I made it with garnet yams with great results.
 
Cheazza November 16, 2011
What are your recommendations for size of dishes and baking times if I use a regular casserole dish?
 
Can I substitute Idaho potatoes?
 
WoooPigSooie February 8, 2011
Can I assemble this a day ahead and then cook the next?
 
Author Comment
Erin M. February 15, 2011
Yea, that shouldn't be a problem!
 
RaquelG November 25, 2011
I assembled this the day before Thanksgiving and ended up with liquid at the bottom of the casserole dish (tripled current recipe and did it in a 9x13). I have to say that we did double the bechamel just because it was so damn good; although we halved the sugar. This was a huge hit and the marshmallow-topped yams became leftovers while the dish on this one was scraped clean! :)
 
MsJoanie December 21, 2011
I doubled the recipe and left it in the fridge to bake the next day -- my bechamel separated some, leaving greasy butter throughout the dish. But it still tasted fabulous. Took over an hour to cook though. At least an hour and 15 minutes, possibly longer, I lost track. I was also worried about the onions given the recommended cooking time, so I softened them with the bacon. Perhaps a quick steam on the yams would help too? <br />RaquelG, how long did you cook your triple batch?
 
editrix November 17, 2010
We feasted on this last weekend, and it is truly a knockout dish. We'll be bringing more to our friends' Thanksgiving potluck.