There are many recipes for this classic French dish that is so perfect with roast beef but this is my favourite version. The mixture of milk and cream makes it lighter than one made with 100% cream and is easier on the arteries. The finely grated garlic added to the cream gives enough flavour without it being overpowering – purists will tell you to just wipe the dish with the cut side of a clove of garlic but that just doesn’t do it for me. Use waxy as opposed to floury potatoes (I use the red variety) so that it keeps its shape and slice the potatoes with a mandolin for perfect results.
- 750g firm waxy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
- 250ml double cream
- 100ml milk
- 1 large clove of garlic, finely grated
- Fresh nutmeg
- Butter for greasing the dish
- 50g gruyère cheese, grated
- Heat the oven to 160°C.
- Lightly grease your gratin dish with butter.
- Put the cream, milk, grated garlic and a scant grating of fresh nutmeg into a large saucepan and bring to a simmer over a medium heat.
- Peel and slice the potatoes thinly with a mandolin – they have to be wafer thin and exactly the same thickness for the dish to cook evenly.
- Add the potatoes to the cream mixture and simmer gently for about 10 minutes. They need to be slightly softened but not cooked through.
- Pour the potatoes with all the cream mixture into the gratin dish and spread them out evenly.
- Sprinkle with the cheese and bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Test it with the tip of a knife to ensure the potatoes are cooked through, the top should be golden and bubbling.
- Allow to cool slightly before serving.
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