1-1/2 to 2 cups each heavy cream and half and half cream

1 large clove of garlic, pureed

salt and freshly ground white pepper

1 imported bay leaf

2 to 2-1/2 pounds boiling potatoes (6 to 7 cups, sliced)

3 to 4 tablespoons grated Swiss cheese



1.Assembling: Pour 1-1/2 cups each of heavy and half and half cream into a heavy-bottomed 3 quart stainless or enameled saucepan with a cover. Stir in the garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, several grinds of pepper and the bay leaf. Slice the potatoes evenly 1/8 inch thick, dropping them as sliced into the cream. When all are in, add more cream as necessary to cover the potatoes by ½ inch.

2. Preliminary cooking: Bring to just below the simmer and maintain at just below the simmer for 50 minutes or more, until the potatoes are perfectly tender. Check frequently to be sure they are not bubbling, since that can cause the cream to curdle. Check also that the potatoes are not sticking or scorching in the bottom of the pan.

3. Into the baking dish: When tender, correct seasoning and remove the potatoes with a slotted spoon to a buttered shallow baking and serving dish (or individual serving dishes). Ladle enough of the cream to come two thirds of the way up the potatoes in the gratin dish and spread on the grated cheese. May be prepared to this point several hours in advance. When cool, cover and refrigerate.

4. Final baking: Preheat oven to 425*. About 30 minutes before serving, set in the upper middle level of the preheated oven and bake until bubbling hot and lightly browned on top. Do not overcook or the potatoes will be dry rather than lush and creamy.


from Julia Child, The Way to Cook

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