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Au Gratin Challenged


Kim Shook
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I seem to be au gratin and scalloped potato challenged. Every. single. time. I try to make one of these dishes, I end up with half raw/half cooked crunchy potatoes!! I follow the directions exactly. I promise. Easter dinner is a good example. I made these: Garlic Potatoes au Gratin exactly as directed: thin sliced raw potatoes (I used a mandolin), 325 degrees for 75 minutes. The recipe didn't specify, so I assumed uncovered. At the end of the 75 minutes - semi-raw, crunchy potatoes. I ended up having to microwave them for about 15 minutes to get them done in time for dinner. What is this :huh::huh::huh: ??? Does anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions? This recipe was so good that I refuse to give it up!

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Try cooking covered for most of the cooking time, then taking the cover off and sticking it under the broiler to brown it up. And, are you sure you're using enough liquid? Basically, I learned the hard way that unless it seems like there's too much liquid, there probably isn't enough.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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Kim, I looked over the recipe and to me it seems an awful small amount of liquid, 1 1/2 cups heavy cream for 3 lbs. potatoes. I would add at least a cup of milk, or even better - simmer the potato slices in milk (just enough to barely cover the potatoes) for 5 minutes and then pour all in the gratin dish and proceed with the rest of the recipe.

The human mouth is called a pie hole. The human being is called a couch potato... They drive the food, they wear the food... That keeps the food hot, that keeps the food cold. That is the altar where they worship the food, that's what they eat when they've eaten too much food, that gets rid of the guilt triggered by eating more food. Food, food, food... Over the Hedge
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you have to cook them covered, it's a must.

and, I always start mine way ahead of time, just in case the potatos do take longer to soften up. I agree, that's not enough liquid, you need to add milk.

---------------------------------------

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I make Delia Smith's Potato Boulangerie or a variation of. I always start it much earlier than I think I'll need, they seem to have no issue at all with extra cooking time. They may be lighter than what you want though.

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I seem to be au gratin and scalloped potato challenged.  Every. single. time. I try to make one of these dishes, I end up with half raw/half cooked crunchy potatoes!!  I follow the directions exactly.  I promise.  Easter dinner is a good example.  I made these: Garlic Potatoes au Gratin exactly as directed: thin sliced raw potatoes (I used a mandolin), 325 degrees for 75 minutes.  The recipe didn't specify, so I assumed uncovered.  At the end of the 75 minutes - semi-raw, crunchy potatoes.  I ended up having to microwave them for about 15 minutes to get them done in time for dinner.  What is this  :huh:  :huh:  :huh: ???  Does anyone else have this problem?  Any suggestions?  This recipe was so good that I refuse to give it up!

Kim, here's what my Skills III Chef taught us: Heat the cream to just below scalding and take it off the heat; season the cream. Mandoline the spuds right into the mixture and toss to coat. Bake for an hour; be sure you have enough time to let the dish sit for at least 30 minutes. It holds heat well and the carryover cooking will take care of any last firm slices.

Mmmm ... au gratin.

"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office
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A couple of things I noticed. Both length of time cooking and oven temp. I make a potato gratin that calls for a cup of heavy cream and a cup of white wine, so it looks like you're a little short on the liquid. Also, my recipe calls for the oven temp to be at 400 and to bake for an hour and 20 minutes.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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it's funny, different cooks have remarkably different ways of making gratins. i did a piece on that once. i think my favorite is madeleine kamman's from "savoie": Rub a gratin dish with garlic and butter it well. Slice 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes very thin. Toss them with salt, pepper and nutmeg and arrange them in the pan. Cover with 1 1/2 cups of whipping cream and bake at 325 degrees until brown, about 1 1/2 hours (she also provides the great tip that you should periodically break the crust that forms and submerge it in the unbrowned cream).

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it's funny, different cooks have remarkably different ways of making gratins. i did a piece on that once. i think my favorite is madeleine kamman's from "savoie": Rub a gratin dish with garlic and butter it well. Slice 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes very thin. Toss them with salt, pepper and nutmeg and arrange them in the pan. Cover with 1 1/2 cups of whipping cream and bake at 325 degrees until brown, about 1 1/2 hours (she also provides the great tip that you should periodically break the crust that forms and submerge it in the unbrowned cream).

Yum! This is why I just got a dog. So I can eat stuff like this and then go walk it off (even if it takes a week!)

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I like the crunchy part the best, so for two people I use a couple potatos sliced thin then put them in a bowl and add a bit of garlic and some grated cheese and a bit of salt and pepper, with enough milk or cream to make everything mix together. Then put it in a 10"porcelain tart pan that is about 1 1/2" deep.

Then pour in enough cream to just barely come to the top of the potatos, and scatter a bit of the grated cheese on top. Cook at 375º till top is brown and crunchy..

Bud

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Another gratin hat in the ring...

Basically a combo of everything so far -- slice the potatoes right into a pot of your seasoned milk/cream, then cook that until the potatoes are floppy, then pour it into your 1/2 hotel or whatever vessel, cook it covered until its done, taking the cover off 10ish minutes before its done so it can brown up all nice.

Rico

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  • 8 months later...

I used the Gourmet Cookbook to make gratin dauphinois for a dinner party a few weeks ago, and it was such a hit that I made it for 20 people on Christmas Eve. They claim the method used was Jaques Pepin's - they put the potatoes and half-and-half in a saucepan with some garlic, salt and pepper, then bring it just to a boil before transferring to the gratin pan and topping with Gruyere - works like a charm every time, even with non-mandoline sliced potatoes. The potatoes come out toothy but not crunchy, and lightly garlicky.

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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This one is fool proof I promise. Slice all your potatoes very thin on mandoline right into baking pan. infuse heavy cream with garlic and thyme salt and pepper then pour over potatoes in pan, straining out garlic and thyme. Cook at 250 for a long time. Seriously. Every 20 minutes when the top browns mix with a spatula and turn over the potatoes so it is fresh cream on top. Do this until there is no more cream. All the cream has carmelized and sokaed up in the raw potatoes. the gratin will be amazingly layered and pressed. It will take about four or five times turning with the spatula. So about 2.5-3 hours. Let the gratin sit for about 30 minutes. I promise it will be the best u have ever had.

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I use my own version of Jacques Pepin's Gratin Dauphinois ... the difference being I use all whipping/heavy cream and no cheese. His method produces a fabulous potato dish that I use often. It is even good eaten cold ie at room temp with a salad for a dietetic :laugh: meal. I have never had problems with under cooked potatoes probably because I test them for "doneness" before removing them from the oven. I have found that if this dish is cooked at a high temperature ie > than 350F the cream will curdle.

"Flay your Suffolk bought-this-morning sole with organic hand-cracked pepper and blasted salt. Thrill each side for four minutes at torchmark haut. Interrogate a lemon. Embarrass any tough roots from the samphire. Then bamboozle till it's al dente with that certain je ne sais quoi."

Arabella Weir as Minty Marchmont - Posh Nosh

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The key seems to be ensuring each potato is coated with liquid before it gets layered in the pan. If you have two or three potato slices stacked up with no liquid in between, it's going to take longer to cook and give you an uneven finished product.

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I have nothing to add- I'm just happy there's another gratin challenged cook out there- my problem isn't so much the texture of the potatoes- but of the sauce- it always seems to curdle- I can never get that resteraunt creamy texture- i'v tried all sorts of combo's of cream, milk, cheese, etc. Any suggestions? :wacko:

ksoss

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I have nothing to add- I'm just happy there's another gratin challenged cook out there- my problem isn't so much the texture of the potatoes- but of the sauce- it always seems to curdle- I can never get that resteraunt creamy texture- i'v tried all sorts of combo's of cream, milk, cheese, etc.  Any suggestions?  :wacko:

Thank heavens! I thought it was just ME! Virtually anything baked like that does me in; corn pudding is a painful memory of a curdled mess, even thought it was in a bain marie! :sad:

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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my basic gratin dauphinoise is made with

4 large baking potaoes peeled and sliced thinly on a mandoline.

1-1/2C shreaded gruyere

1-1/2C heavy cream

salt and ground pepper

layer all ingredients in oval gratin dish should be 2 layers.

Bake uncovered in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour

never a problem

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I did my first gratin dish to accompany my first standing rib roast during the holidays. I used about 6 medium russet potatoes sliced thin on a Japanese madoline. I heated 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream and infused garlic and thyme and nutmeg in to the cream. I overlapped the potatoes to form one layer and then poured on some of the cream mixture and grated parmesan cheese. I did this in about 3 layers and then topped with more parmesan. It was baked uncovered in a 375 oven for 60 mins. The cream was mostly absorbed and the top was golden brown. No under cooked potatoes but the taste was too close to Fettuccine Alfredo. I think a good Gruyere would be spectacular.

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I did the Gratin Dauphinoise from Les Halles tonight for dinner.

gallery_6080_205_109011.jpg

OK, looking at this spectacular picture just produced a "light bulb" moment. All I've ever used to try to bake a gratinee in is pyrex. Is that where my problems have arisen? Do I need to find a Le Cruset and put my bank account in jeopardy just so I can have the most beautiful potatoes?

"Commit random acts of senseless kindness"

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I did the Gratin Dauphinoise from Les Halles tonight for dinner.

gallery_6080_205_109011.jpg

OK, looking at this spectacular picture just produced a "light bulb" moment. All I've ever used to try to bake a gratinee in is pyrex. Is that where my problems have arisen? Do I need to find a Le Cruset and put my bank account in jeopardy just so I can have the most beautiful potatoes?

Lol, no I don't think so. I did all my gratins in pyrex 9x13 glass dishes until I got the LC. My son loved that particular gratin so much he's asked for a gratin tonight to go with the ham I'm making.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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