Apple-Celery Root Gratin: An LA Rain Dance

Apple-Celery Root Gratin

There is an unusual early season rainstorm predicted this weekend in Los Angeles, but you won’t see me dancing up a storm just yet. It’s not the first rain we’ve had here this autumn. Sure, there’s a drought, but LA has had a relatively lot of rain lately when it’s not supposed to. That rain (strangely) has been followed by heatwaves – each and every time. Meaning whatever moisture hit the soil soon evaporated. Still, I have hope for a wet winter. That’s why I started this series of posts about apples. Apples and rain are happy companions. It’s been very apple-centric here lately. Today I have a gratin. An Apple-Celery Root Gratin. I consider this Apple-Celery Root Gratin a sort of rain dance.

Please join me in chanting won’t  you? “Rain in LA. Rain in LA. Rain in LA…”

If it rains, we’ll all be happy. But we can’t count on El Niño. That’s why we need this Apple-Celery Root Gratin as a rain dance. Fritz on Channel 4 may say rain (til he’s blue in the face), but he’s disappointed me before. That’s how it is in Los Angeles, which is technically a desert – a paved over and re-planted desert – but a desert nonetheless. Sure, we have palm trees and ocean breezes. But don’t let that fool you. Los Angeles still retains the desert-like predictability of very (very) long dry spells. Four years and counting.

Please join me in chanting won’t you? “Rain in LA. Rain in LA. Rain in LA…”

chopped celery rootgruyere

Rainy Day Apple-Celery Root Gratin

In honor of the first (real?) rain of the season, I am going to make something cozy. Something my mother might make. She’d use potatoes and call them scalloped – but that’s another story.

What I’d really like from this LA rain dance (besides rain, of course) is a long evening in front of the fire. I’d like to eat dinner in the living room at the table in front of the fireplace and listen tio the pitter-patter of raindrops on the patio doors. We have 4 leather chairs that pull around that table and serve nicely for dining sometimes. It’s very gentleman’s club, especially in the rain!

Now I just have to decide which gentlemen to invite. But that’s a problem for later. Let’s see if it rains first. GREG

Sippity Sup Living RoomSippity Sup Living Room

Apple-Celery Root Gratin

Apple and Celery Root Gratin with Gruyère 

Print This Recipe Total time Yield 4–6Published
Apple and Celery Root Gratin with Gruyère


  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1 pound tart, crisp apples (pelled, halved and cored)
  • 1 pound celery root (peeled and halved or quartered, depending on size)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus more for seasoning)
  • ½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1 pinch ground cloves
  • 2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1 cup roughly chopped, toasted walnuts
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar


Place the oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350°.

Grease the bottom and sides of baking dish with butter. Place the prepared dish onto a baking sheet.

Cut apples and celery root into very thin slices using a food processor or mandoline, set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together cream, salt, nutmeg, and cloves and stir until well combined. Set aside.

Arrange half the apples in the buttered dish, overlapping the slices slightly. Sprinkle ¼ of the cheese on top. Then arrange half the celery root slices in a similar fashion, followed by another ¼ of the cheese. Repeat with remaining apples, celery root and cheese (ending with a cheese layer). Pour the cream mixture over the top. Gently shake the dish to settle and distribute the layers evenly.

In a medium bowl toss walnuts, breadcrumbs, and brown sugar. Sprinkle the mixture evenly across the top of gratin.

Transfer the gratin, still on its baking sheet to catch any mess, to the heated oven. Bake uncovered until the top is golden and the edges are bubbling, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. If the top starts getting too dark, loosely cover with foil.

Allow the gratin to rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.