Gratin Dauphinois Madame Cartet (Madame Cartet’s Potato Gratin)


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.

I appreciate this dish because it’s simple. I can throw it together in 10 minutes and put it in the oven and not worry about it until dinner is done. And cheese is always good.


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

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. Repeat the previous step with the remaining potatoes, crême fraîche, cheese, and salt.
  5. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
  6. Serve immediately.

Serves 4 to 6.


9 Responses to “Gratin Dauphinois Madame Cartet (Madame Cartet’s Potato Gratin)”

  1. 1 ilovemustard November 13, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    Yum, yum, and yum. Picture is great. Recipe sounds amazing. I’ve seen fraiche at Trader Joe’s before too and wondered what it was used for. Now I know and have a recipe to try it with. Thanks.

  2. 2 Matt November 13, 2007 at 1:34 pm

    Crême fraîche is essentially French heavy cream and can be used in most of the same applications. It’s consistency is closer to sour cream however. It also has a slight sour taste like sour cream (but not nearly as strong). I haven’t done a lot of experiments with it so I usually only use it when it’s called for in a recipe.

  3. 3 ilovemustard November 14, 2007 at 10:05 am

    Thanks for the info. Good to know. I’m gonna have to experiment with it and let me know if what you come up with to k.

  4. 4 loopykd November 15, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Wow! Wonderful recipe. I have found creme fraiche to be too expensive and have found a recipe to make it. Essentially, take a pint of heavy cream, splash in 2-3 tablespoons of buttermilk, let it sit in an airtight container on your counter for 2-3 days or until the desired consistency is reached. It works very well and tastes wonderful! I will be trying your recipe for the gratin.

  5. 5 Nadine T. November 18, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    I actually use milk only, normally the potato starch is enough to make the consistency heavier. But it’s better with cream, of course. Beautiful picture!

  6. 6 YAZombie March 28, 2008 at 9:37 am

    Note that the presence of cheese makes this dish rather a “gratin savoyard”. People from Dauphiné are often somewhat itchy about this detail 🙂

  7. 7 Matt March 29, 2008 at 12:03 am

    I was under the impression that a Gratin Dauphinois usually had cheese in it. Is this incorrect? That’s how it’s presented in cookbooks in the United States (including by the esteemed Julia Child).

  8. 8 legallyredgoddess May 13, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    Tried this for my boys and they loved it. Thank you. Simple and tastie, will cook it again

  9. 9 Matt May 14, 2008 at 8:15 am

    I’m glad you and your boys liked it. It’s one of my favorites as well.

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