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Gratin Dauphinois / Pommes Dauphinoise Recipe
This has become one of the most abused French dishes of all time, "Ratatouille" is another that springs to mind. We all have our favourite potato gratins, but please don't call any of them dauphinois unless they are. Most varieties found bare little resemblance to the dish traditional in the lower Alps of the Dauphine.
The dish should be perfumed with garlic, plenty, not just a token amount - and please, no eggs or cheese toppings.
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- 1 kilo/2lbs waxy, rather than floury, Potatoes - the big Cyprus or Egyptian varieties (such as Nicola's) are ideal
- 600ml/1 pint full fat Milk
- 230ml/8 fl oz Double Cream
- 4 medium or 2 big cloves of Garlic, peeled and finely-chopped
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) Cornflour
- Salt and freshly-ground Black Pepper
Equipment: A deep (8cm/3ins will do) oven-proof gratin dish
Peel the potatoes and keep covered in cold water. Heat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas 3.
Have a chopping board in front of you - plus your chopped garlic, salt and pepper within easy reach.
Dissolve the cornflour in a little cold water and set aside.
Cut the potatoes into fine slices; on no account put them in water at this stage as the starch they hold helps thicken the recipe.
Cover the bottom of the gratin dish with sliced potato. Sprinkle this layer with a little salt, pepper and chopped garlic. Continue in this way until all the potato is used up.
Heat the milk until hot, then pour over the potatoes.
Give the cornflour another stir, to make sure that it's completely dissolved – then mix this with the cream and pour it over the potatoes. Mix in a little, but allow most to stay near the top.
Cover the dish loosely with tin foil, making a few holes in the top to allow steam to escape.
Put the dish in the pre-heated oven, on a baking tray if you're worried about it boiling over.
Cook for an hour, then remove the foil covering. Increase the oven temperature to 190°C/375°C/Gas 5, and cook for a further 30 minutes.
The top of the potatoes should be golden brown. As potato types vary considerably, test that your gratin is completely cooked, so insert a sharp knife into the middle – it should meet little resistance. If it does, lower the oven temperature a little and cook for a further 15 minutes.
The dish can be prepared ahead up to this point.
This dish reheats very well, either in a conventional oven or in the microwave. You might find, however, that the potato has absorbed all the liquid – so a little more milk or cream – worked in, without spoiling the appearance, might be necessary.
Recipe taken from 'Foolproof Entertaining' by Simon Scrutton - available from www.runninghare.gb.com