Sweet Potato Hazelnut Gratin
4 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
3/4 cup maple syrup
5 Tblsp unsalted butter
2 cups whole hazelnuts blanched
4 cups Panko Japanese bread crumbs
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 Tblsp salt
Yield: 8-10 servings.
Using a knife or the cutting-disk attachment of your food processor, slice peeled sweet potatoes into 1/4-inch thick slices and place in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.
In a small pot, combine whipping cream, maple syrup and butter and warm on low heat until butter melts. Take the pan off the heat and reserve.
Place the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet and insert them into a preheated 375 F oven and roast until they turn golden brown in color. Remove and let cool then chop with a knife or food processor to a slightly ruff consistency, not to fine. Next place the bread crumbs, chopped hazelnuts and the brown sugar into a bowl and mix together. This will be the topping of the gratin.
Take the bowl with the potato slices and season them with salt. Next add 2/3 of the cream mixture and 2 cups of the topping and toss together coating the potatoes.
Next spray a 9-by-12 inch baking dish with your favorite pan spray and place the potato mixture in the dish. Scrape the bowl with a rubber spatula to get all the bits. Then press the potatoes into the pan with your hands to compact and level the slices.
Pour the remaining cream mixture over potatoes then cover with baking paper and foil and place into a 375 F oven for 45-55 minutes. When you remove the dish, the sweet potatoes should be just cooked. Add the remaining topping in an even layer and place dish back into oven.
Reduce heat to 350 F and bake until crust turns a golden brown, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 10minutes before serving.