Few fruits have inspired as much lore and superstition as the apple — perhaps the most famous being the title of this book. "People think of apples as being good in desserts, but they also work well with savory," says co-author Melissa Petitto. Here, she uses them to put a grown-up twist on sweet potato casserole. "The apples provide a little crunch, which plays nicely off the texture of the sweet potatoes."
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 4-quart baking dish and set aside. Prick the potatoes with a fork and wrap each one in foil. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour. Turn off the oven and let them sit in the oven for 30 minutes to finish cooking and cool slightly. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes.
Peel the potatoes, discarding the skins, and scoop the flesh into a large bowl. Add 1 Tb. butter, 1 Tb. olive oil, and the cream. Beat with a handheld mixer on medium-high until smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in the applesauce, ginger, lemon zest, salt, and pepper.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish; set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the apples and brown sugar; toss to combine. In a large non-stick sauté pan set over medium heat, melt 1 Tb. butter with 1 Tb. olive oil. Add the apples and sauté, stirring occasionally, until they are caramelized and golden brown, about 15 minutes. Top the sweet potato mixture with the apples. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until warmed through. Serve hot.