The first time I bought crême fraîche (at Trader Joe’s) I was asked by the cashier what I used it for. I had to admit that I had never used it before but that I was hoping to use it for some kind of gratin.
I had tried several different gratin recipes from a simple scalloped potatoes to Julia Child’s Gratin Dauphinois among others. And, most of the time, they ended up good but either the potatoes fell apart because of being parboiled or they didn’t get cooked all the way or were sitting in a sea of cream. It was just hard to be satisfied with them.
Because crême fraîche is initially a solid, it’s easier to get it to cover all the potatoes without it settling to the bottom of the dish. It also means you don’t need to parboil the potatoes so they don’t fall apart when you put them in the dish.
Gratin Dauphinois Madame Cartet (Madame Cartet’s Potato Gratin)
Adapted from Bistro Cooking
1 garlic clove, cut in half
2 lbs. baking potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
1 cup grated Swiss cheese
1 cup crême fraîche
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Rub the inside of a 6-cup gratin dish with the cut side of the garlic clove. Rub until the gratin dish is well lubricated with the garlic
- Layer half the potatoes in the bottom of the gratin dish. Spread half the crême fraîche over top. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the potatoes and season with salt.
- Repeat the previous step with the remaining potatoes, crême fraîche, cheese, and salt.
- Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
- Serve immediately.
Serves 4 to 6.