- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 1 tsp. salt
- ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper
- 2 lbs. russet potatoes (6 or 7 medium), peeled and sliced ¼-inch thick
- 1 cup shredded Gruyère cheese
- 3 slices good quality white bread, torn in large pieces
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
- ¼ tsp. salt
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Vegetarian, Family Favorites
Active Time: 1 hour
Start to Finish: 2 hours
Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter a 2-quart baking dish or gratin.
Place the peppercorns, garlic cloves, bay leaves, and rosemary in a square of cheesecloth and tie with kitchen twine to make a sachet. In a large, heavy saucepan, combine the cream, milk, 1 teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper, and add the sachet. Bring to a simmer, and, as soon as you see bubbles beginning to form at the edges of the pan, remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 30 minutes.
While the cream mixture is steeping, make the breadcrumbs. Place the torn bread slices, the melted butter, and the ¼ teaspoon salt in a food processor and blend until the bread forms crumbs and the butter is incorporated.
After 30 minutes, remove the sachet from the saucepan and add the sliced potatoes. Simmer over medium heat (don't let the cream mixture boil) until the potatoes are just tender, about 15 minutes. The potatoes should resist slightly when tested with a sharp knife. With a slotted spoon, place half the potatoes in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with half the Gruyère; repeat with the remaining potatoes and cheese. Pour the cream mixture over the potatoes and cheese, and top with the breadcrumbs.
Place the dish on a baking sheet and place in the preheated oven. Bake 40-50 minutes, until the top is browned and the gratin is bubbly. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.
If you don't have cheesecloth for the sachet, you can use a coffee filter.