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Potato Apple Gratin

In the Fall, this Potato Apple Gratin is a staple for both Thanksgiving, Christmas and in between. I also serve this for New Years Day brunch and it’s always a winner and yields many servings as well as everyone loving it! This one is a bit special though with the addition of Granny Smith apples, fresh Thyme and our favorite, Swiss cheese. I love this with Gruyere but it’s not always easy to find, so Swiss works just fine. The result? Creamy layers of potato, cheese with the sharp bits of the apples and herbal touches of the fresh thyme make for a beautiful looking and tasting side dish.

potato apple gratin with copper serving spoon

What is Au Gratin style potatoes?

Many restaurants serve Au Gratin Potatoes, and we know it as a cheesy, gooey potato casserole that we just adore, but what is it, really? Au Gratin, is French for literally “grating or scraping”. In the culinary arts, it’s a technique where a cheese crust forms on a dish by either broiling or baking long enough to render the crust. For this dish, the baking time and assembly of the potatoes lends to a gorgeous crust forming so no broiling is necessary. The result, an extra delicious, must have seconds, kind of dish.

What is the Difference between Gratin, Dauphinoise and scalloped potatoes?

I think the most commonly used words for this dish are Au Gratin and Scalloped potatoes. Every now and again, you see Dauphinoise used to describe a similar potato casserole. Are they all the same? The short answer is well…sort of.

Gratin or Au Gratin

Simply explained you make this with layers of potatoes, cheese, either cream or in my case buttermilk with herbs and sometimes bread crumbs. It’s topped with additional cheese to get that golden browned crust when baked.

Dauphinoise

This potato dish is actually almost identical to Au Gratin, except that the formal description is a casserole made with uncooked potatoes whereas Au Gratin would be cooked potatoes. Yet another site explains that this is the proper name of the dish but made au gratin style. Properly, this is called gratin Dauphinoise.

Scalloped Potatoes

Our tried and true American favorite, Scalloped potatoes. This very popular Holiday casserole accordingly to Southern Living, is comprised of potatoes in a basic cream sauce and then baked until golden. Technically no cheese, but, even they acknowledge that some of their Scalloped potato recipes are topped with cheese.

In a nutshell? All incredibly great options to serve, deciding which to serve is the hardest!

Best potatoes to use for Potato Au Gratin

As you shop for ingredients for my Potato Apple Gratin, good old russet potatoes are best. They hold up to the heat, are sturdy, and are easy to find. These potatoes are perfect because they have a low moisture content and a high starch content (hello dreamy and creamy) so yeah, perfect for this. And the added plus? You can find them everywhere!

Best cheese for Potato Apple Gratin

I have made this Potato Apple Gratin with both Gruyere and Swiss. Gruyere is the sharper, more expensive cousin to Swiss. I buy two half pound blocks from the deli counter and shred it myself because the taste is way better. If you want to add a touch of fancy, splurge on the Gruyere. It will not disappoint! Next to this, any sharp cheese works very well such as white cheddar, asiago, or just plain cheddar. When matching the cheese, I like to think about the apples in the recipe, what would go well with a crisp apple?

How to make Potato Apple Gratin

This is hands down one of the easiest recipes to make for a crowd. What helps is the use of a food processor or mandolin. If you have neither, no worries, this can be prepped simply with a knife.

Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare a large casserole dish, 3 1/2qt or slightly larger. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

If you are shredding the cheese, start by shredding the pound of Swiss cheese and grate some Parmesan. Set aside.

Whisk the buttermilk, eggs , thyme leaves, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside.

If you use a mandolin, set to 1/8″ thickness. Wash and peel the russet potatoes. Carefully slice thinly, about 1/8″ thick either through a mandolin or by hand using a knife. Once you have sliced all the potatoes, set aside.

Wash and dry apples. If using a mandolin, set to 1/8″ thickness. Slice in half, remove core and stems. Slice thinly also, about 1/8″ thick. I cut around the core so the majority of the the apple slices will be larger and a few small pieces in between, that is okay. It won’t affect the dish in any way. If you don’t have a mandolin slicer, just slice by hand.

How to assemble Potato apple gratin

In the large casserole that you prepared, arrange a layer of potatoes, slightly overlapping, on the bottom of the casserole. Now cover with a layer of apples and add a 1/3 of the Swiss cheese, 1/3 of the grated Parmesan cheese and pour 1/3 of the egg mixture. Repeat a layer of potatoes, apples, 1/3 of the cheeses and 1/3 of the egg mixture. Repeat the last layer. Now this is ready for the oven!

Tip: place a piece of parchment paper between the potato mixture and foil so that the cheese doesn’t stick to the foil when melting. This will save the cheese and also keep the casserole looking beautiful.

Bake covered for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from stove, remove foil and parchment paper and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown and potatoes are tender.

Allow to set for about 15 minutes and then serve.

This casserole can be served warm or at room temperature.

Tip: casserole can be made 6 hours prior to baking. Assemble and place in refrigerator until ready to bake. Remove from the refrigerator 20 minutes before baking.

full sized baked potato apple gratin

What do I serve with Potato Apple Gratin?

So many foods pair well with this Potato Apple Gratin. For starters, my Sunday Simple Herb Roast Chicken is perfect. A large cut off beef like a Two Ingredient Tri-tip would be amazing and last but not least, a perfect addition to Thanksgiving with an Oven Roasted Herbed Turkey Breast. What else you ask? Simply baked chicken breasts or thighs, pork chops, ham or pork roast are also so perfect for this oh so perfect side dish.

How to store leftovers

If you happen to have leftovers, this casserole freezes beautifully. I make a large batch, cut into fourths and freeze in plastic bags. To reheat, I warm the oven to 375F and in a casserole or small oven safe dutch oven with lid, I place frozen Potato Apple Gratin place lid and heat for about 45 minutes until completely heated through and bubbling. For refrigerated leftovers, use the same method but reheat for about 20 minutes or until completely heated through.

In the fridge, this Potato Apple Gratin will keep for about 3 days.

Enjoy!

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square close up potato apple gratin

Potato Apple Gratin

Ana P @ Claudia’s Table
November 2, 2022
In the Fall, this Potato Apple Gratin is a staple for both Thanksgiving, Christmas and in between. I have also served this for New Years Day brunch and it's always a winner and yields many servings as well as everyone loving it!
4.41 from 5 votes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Course Brunch, Dinner, Holiday
Cuisine American, French
Servings 10
Calories 380 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 casserole dish 3 1/2 – 4 qt size
  • mandolin slicer optional
  • cheese grater optional
  • medium bowl
  • whisk

Ingredients
  

  • 2 lbs potatoes, baking like Russet potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 lbs apples, unpeeled Granny Smith, thinly sliced, cores removed
  • 1 lb Swiss cheese, Gruyere or mild cheddar shredded
  • 1/4 lb Parmesan cheese grated
  • 3 eggs fresh
  • 3 cups Buttermilk
  • 2 tbsp Thyme, chopped Fresh, leaves only
  • 2 tsp salt Kosher
  • 1/2 tsp pepper ground
  • Thyme sprigs garnish, optional

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Prepare a large casserole dish, 3 1/2qt or slightly larger. Spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  • If you are shredding the cheese, start by shredding the pound of Swiss cheese and grate some Parmesan. Set aside.
  • Whisk the buttermilk, eggs , thyme leaves, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Set aside. 
  • If you use a mandolin, set to 1/8" thickness. Wash and peel the russet potatoes. Carefully slice thinly, about 1/8" thick either through a mandolin or by hand use a knife. Once you have sliced all the potatoes, set aside. 
  • Wash and dry apples. If using a mandolin, set to 1/8" thickness. Slice in half, remove core and stems. Slice thinly also, about 1/8" thick. I cut around the core so the majority of the the apple slices will be larger and a few small pieces in between, that is okay. It won't affect the dish in any way. If using a knife, slice thinly about the same thickness, 1/8 inch.
  • In the large casserole that you prepared, arrange a layer of potatoes, slightly overlapping, on the bottom of the casserole. Now cover with a layer of apples and add a 1/3 of the Swiss cheese, 1/3 of the grated Parmesan cheese and pour 1/3 of the egg mixture. Repeat a layer of potatoes, apples, 1/3 of the cheeses and 1/3 of the egg mixture. Repeat the last layer. Now this is ready for the oven!
  • Tip: place a piece of parchment paper between the potato mixture and foil so that the cheese doesn't stick to the foil. This will save the cheese and also keep the casserole looking beautiful. 
  • Bake covered for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Remove from stove, remove foil and parchment paper and bake for another 15-20 minutes until golden brown and potatoes are tender. 
  • Allow to set for about 15 minutes and then serve. 
  • This casserole can be served warm or at room temperature. 
  • Tip: casserole can be made 6 hours prior to baking. Assemble and place in refrigerator until ready to bake. Remove from the refrigerator 20 minutes before baking. 

Notes

 
Recipe adapted by Real Simple 2006.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 380kcal

Nutritional information is calculated online and should be used as a guide.

Keyword apple recipe, Au gratin, easy side dish, holiday side dishes, potatoes, scalloped potatoes

All content and photographs ©Claudia’s Table and claudiastable.com

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