Gratin Dauphinoise Potatoes

A delicious and decadent French preparation not recommended for those on a diet. The name derives not from the Dauphin, the heir to the French throne, but from the province of Dauphiné in Hautes-Alpes.

25g butter.
1kg potatoes.
1 ¼ cups milk.
1 cup cream.
2 cloves garlic, peeled and cracked but still whole.
Small bunch fresh thyme.
1 bay leaf.
Small bunch parsley.
½ tsp Quatre Épices.
1 cup grated cheese [raclette, pecorino or parmesan are all excellent].

Preheat the oven to160°C. Butter the inner surface of an au gratin dish. Peel the potatoes and slice into rounds about as thick as your little finger nail is wide. Pat them dry with a tea towel, cover over and set aside.
Pour the milk and cream into a small pan over a medium flame and add the garlic and herbs. Slowly heat over a medium flame, stirring frequently. Just before it comes to the boil [bubbles will start to form around the edge], remove from the heat, pour through a chinoise into a bowl. Discard the garlic and herbs.
Arrange the potato slices in layers in the au gratin dish and pour the warm milk over them. Sprinkle with the grated cheese and place in the oven. Bake for one hour or until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes and serve.

Serves: 4.

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