This is the French method of cooking these classic creamy potatoes. The process begins in a saucepan, rather than the typically British way of piling potatoes into a dish and pouring cream over the top. Not only does this give a far superior result, it also uses hardly any cream. See Get ahead [below] for how to make this entirely in advance and present it elegantly when entertaining
- 900g floury potatoes, such as
- 350ml milk
- 150ml double cream
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 2 tsp salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5. Butter a shallow ovenproof gratin dish measuring about 20 x 25cm.
- Peel and thinly slice the potatoes using a food processor, mandolin or knife. Do not put the sliced potatoes into water.
- Put the milk, cream, garlic, seasoning and potatoes into a large pan and, using a wooden spoon, carefully mix together over a gentle heat, until the mixture becomes thick and creamy.
- Pour into the greased dish and sprinkle the top with the grated Parmesan. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour or until the potatoes are very tender and the top is golden brown and bubbling. Check after 45–50 minutes to make sure the top isn’t getting too brown. Keep an eye on it and cover loosely with foil if necessary.
Make entirely up to 24 hours in advance, cool, cover and refrigerate. When required, reheat at the above temperature for 20–25 minutes, although it won’t be quite as creamy as when freshly cooked.
Alternatively, after a night in the fridge, and up to two days ahead, cut out 6-8 rounds with a plain pastry cutter, or a chef’s ring (around 7 cm across for 6 rounds; smaller for 8) and, using a palette knife, place on a baking sheet, greased or lined with silicone paper. Reheat at 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6 for 10–12 minutes when required (pictured). Or, cut the gratin into squares instead, which avoids any wastage.
Hints and tips
Increase the quantities by one and a half times to feed 12 people. Double the quantities and feed 20 and allow 1½ hours to cook.
Recipes are from The Get Ahead Cook by Jane Lovett, with photography by Tony Briscoe. Published by Whitefox Publishing and available from all good booksellers.