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Well call me Jamie Child.  Or not.  But I did successfully recreate a French recipe by the famous Julia Child.

My mom gave me Mastering the Art of French Cooking shortly after we watched the movie Julie & Julia.  I was nervous that these real-deal French recipes would be too complicated so I stuck with Ina and Giada for a while.  But then we got word of Julia Child’s amazing potato recipe from a family friend and went digging in the book until we found the right one.

There were about 8 recipes for Scalloped Potatoes/Potatoes au Gratin/Pommes de Terre. We finally figured out which one my mom was looking for on page 523: Gratin Dauphinois [Scalloped Potatoes with Milk, Cheese, and a Pinch of Garlic].

Julia Child's Potatoes au Gratin Dauphinois

The only major substitution we made was using Gruyere cheese instead of the Swiss the original recipe calls for.  In baked dishes with cheese, Gruyere really makes a difference (something we learned through Ina Garten’s Mac and Cheese).  I’m certainly not saying I know better than Julia, so it’s really just a matter of preference. 🙂

Here we go:

Wash and peel 2 pounds of potatoes.  (We struggled with which type of potatoes to use, but our research showed for a gratin, the type of potato does not matter much.  We settled on Yukon and they cooked perfectly.)

Julia Child's Potatoes au Gratin Dauphinois

Slice potatoes thin and put in a water bath until ready to use. (We tried slicing them in the food processor, but they ended up getting too chopped up instead of clean slices.  Depending on your machine, slicing by hand may be best.)

Cut a glove of garlic and rub the inside of a shallow backing dish.  Then, grease dish with 1 Tb butter.  Pat potatoes dry with towel and arrange half the potatoes in baking dish.

Julia Child's Potatoes au Gratin Dauphinois

Divide over them half the salt, pepper, cheese, and butter.  Arrange the remaining potatoes over the first layer, and season with remaining salt, pepper, cheese, and butter.

Julia Child's Potatoes au Gratin Dauphinois

Pour on the boiling milk.

Julia Child's Potatoes au Gratin Dauphinois

Set baking dish over stove and heat. When simmering, set in upper third of preheated oven.

Julia Child's Potatoes au Gratin Dauphinois

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, milk has been absorbed and the top is nicely browned.

Julia Child's Potatoes au Gratin Dauphinois

And enjoy!

Julia Child's Potatoes au Gratin Dauphinois

Gratin Dauphinois

  • 2 lbs. potatoes
  • 1/2 clove unpeeled garlic
  • 4 Tb butter
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) grated Swiss Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup boiling milk

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Peel the potatoes and slice them 1/8 inch thick.  Place in a basin of cold water.  Drain when ready to use.

Rub the baking dish with the cut garlic.  Smear the inside of the dish with 1 tablespoon of the butter.

Drain the potatoes and dry them in a towel.  Spread half of them in the bottom of the dish.  Divide over them half the salt, pepper, cheese, and butter.  Arrange the remaining potatoes over the first layer, and season them.  Spread on the rest of the cheese and divide the butter over it.  Pour on the boiling milk.  Set baking dish over heat and when simmering, set in upper third of preheated oven.

Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, milk has been absorbed and the top is nicely browned.

[Julia’s Notes: May wait for half an hour, loosely covered, over simmering water.  For a longer wait, stop initial cooking just before all milk has evaporated.  Set aside uncovered. Shortly before serving, dot with 2 Tb butter, reheat on top of stove, and set in a 425-degree oven for 5 to 10 minutes to finish cooking.]

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