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Gratin is a way of combining foods with cream, milk, béchamel sauce, or tomato sauce. It is baked until set with cheese and bread crumbs forming a crust on top. A gratin is different from casserole only because a special oval, shallow dish is used.
An example is potatoes, apples and pears casserole.
4 large potatoes, sliced
3 onions, sliced
3 unpeeled apples, sliced
3 peeled pears, sliced
3/4 cup butter
2 cups broth
1 cup bread crumbs
Melt 1/2 of the butter in a pan, add the onions and cook until soft. Separately, sauté potatoes in the rest of butter; add the pears, salt and pepper. Combine the vegetables in a casserole. Pour stock to cover, than add bread crumbs.
Bake at 350 F. for 1.5 hours. The stock should be absorbed but the dish should not be over-dried.