In the classic French repertoire, pommes Anna are regular potatoes, peeled, sliced thin, and cooked in a buttered pan on the stovetop until tender and crisply crusted. That’s essentially how this holiday twist begins—as a mass of peeled and thinly sliced sweet potatoes. Only here, the butter’s mixed with maple syrup, orange zest, and a little cinnamon, and it bakes like a casserole, packed in a dish with a layer of walnuts and brown sugar in the center, and another on top. You top with foil and bake in a hot oven, then uncover to brown and crisp the surface.
Special equipment: It’s not absolutely necessary, but a mandoline slicer ensures thin, even sweet potato slices.
- Yield: 6 servings
- Difficulty: Easy
- Total: 30 mins, plus 45 mins baking time
- Active: 20 mins
- 1 cup walnut halves, finely chopped (about 3 ounces)
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes (about 3 large)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick), plus more for coating the dish
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon packed, finely grated orange zest (from about half of a large orange)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch freshly ground black pepper, plus more as needed
- Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with butter; set aside. Place the walnuts and brown sugar in a small bowl and stir until combined; set aside. Peel the sweet potatoes. Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, slice into even 1/8-inch-thick rounds; set aside.
- Place the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until the butter has melted and the mixture is combined. Remove from heat, add the sweet potato slices, and stir until evenly coated. Taste a sweet potato and add more salt and pepper as needed.
- Place half of the potato slices in an even layer in the prepared dish, overlapping as needed. Sprinkle with half of the walnut–brown sugar mixture. Place the remaining sweet potato slices in the dish, along with any remaining juices from the saucepan. Sprinkle with the remaining walnut–brown sugar mixture.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil, rotate the dish, and cook until the top is browned and the sweet potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork, 20 to 25 minutes more.