Yes, there it is in all its glory: a sweet potato. Rough brute. Some people think you can civilize it by coating it with marshmallow. My mother did that. My first wife did that. My second, and final wife, will never do that.

I don’t have a picture of this dish yet because we haven’t made it. Possibly this week, maybe for Christmas. But I wanted you to see it, consider the idea, and perhaps beat me to the table this Thanksgiving. No marshmallow. But, there is saving grace, there is bourbon!

Bourbon-Glazed Sweet Potato, Apple and Pecan Gratin

Yield: serves 6


  • 2 pounds sweet potatoes, abut 4, pricked
  • 2 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger


Preheat the oven to 400°F. Butter a 9-x-12-inch gratin dish.

Bake the sweet potatoes on the oven rack for 45 minutes, or until tender. Let cool, then peel and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices on the diagonal. (Leave the oven on.)

In a bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice. Arrange the sweet potatoes and apples, overlapping the slices, in the gratin dish and sprinkle with the pecans.

In a small saucepan, combine the remaining ingredients and simmer over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Spoon the glaze over the sweet potatoes and apples.

Roast, basting occasionally with the cooking juices, for 30 minutes, or until the apples are tender.

Preheat the broiler. Place the dish under the broiler, about 4 inches from the heat, and broil until golden brown; watch carefully. Serve from the gratin dish.

Source: Reasons to Roast by Georgia Chan Downard and Evie Righter [Houghton Mifflin, 1997]