Gratin Dauphinois – Potato Gratin Dauphin Style

Gratin Dauphinois

I love gratin dauphinois.  I’m kind of obsessed with it.  I remember as a kid, seeing the commercial’s for Betty Crocker’s Scalloped potatoes, and thinking, why won’t my mom make this for me?  (It’s the same feeling I had for the snoopy sno cone machine.)  No matter how much I begged and pleaded, my mother would NOT make scalloped potatoes, nor did they ever purchase the sno cone machine for me.  (I swear, I still want one.  And and easy bake oven).

But I digress.  When I started to cook myself, I made this.  Wow.  I was mystified at the fact that something so easy could be so good.  It really is a sophisticated dish, fragrant and flavorful.  Decadent, warm and seriously addictive.  Because I had left over sliced potatoes from Saturday nights dinner, I made this to go with the Osso Buco, which I will post tomorrow.

So, if you are so inclined to indulge, here’s what you’re going to need:

1 clove of garlic, minced

3/4 cup milk

6 tbsp heavy cream

1 lb russet potatoes, sliced thinly with a mandoline

Salt and White Pepper to taste

2 pinches of cinnamon

4 pinches of freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 375F (190C).  Add the garlic, milk and cream to a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Add the sliced potatoes, salt and spices.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring and coating the potatoes carefully.

Butter a baking dish.  Add the potatoes and smooth the top.  Bake until golden brown, about 45-50 minutes.  Serve hot!

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

Miniature Apple Pies with Thyme

Miniature Apple Pies

Ahhh, Autumn is fast arriving here in Barcelona, and for me it is one of the most special times of year.  As the days get shorter and the heat of Summer fades away, my mind wanders to longer, warmer food.  There certainly is nothing better than the smells of apples and spices emanating from your kitchen.

I have never been a big apple lover, but for some reason, apples that are baked are truly scrumptious.  A flaky crust, moist and tender, filled to the brim with those soft and delicious apples.  Served warm with some vanilla ice cream, it’s a decadent treat that will please everyone!!

For my last dinner party, I made these miniature versions.  I don’t have a beautiful pie tin, so I opted for giving everyone a mini pie.  It’s a perfect little serving.  And so easy to bake, it bakes in a cupcake tin, and they pop right out when you’re done!

Miniature Apple PiesI had lots of fun creating different tops, so feel free to let your imagination run wild.  I created a lattice top, and then I have the lovely Williams Sonoma Leaf cut outs, which I used on another, and lastly, I used a large frosting tip to create small holes.

Miniature Apple Pies

 

So have fun with them, no matter how you decided to decorate the tops, they are guaranteed to be delicious!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

Serves 12

For the Short Crust Pastry:

250g All purpose Flour

150g unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

1 tsp salt

1 egg

1 tbsp milk

In a large bowl, measure out your flour.  Add the butter and crumble with the tips of your fingers, until your flour looks like wet sand, and all the butter has been incorporated.   Add the egg, salt and milk, with your hands, mix and knead until a firm dough forms.  Roll into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, flatten into a disc and refrigerate for at least one hour.

For the filling:

5 mixed apples, such as Golden Delicious or Gala, cut into 1 inch cubes

125g butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground allspice

1/4 tsp salt

Black pepper to taste

1 sprig of Thyme, leaves detached

3 tbsp water

1 egg, beaten

In a large pot, add all your ingredients except for the egg, and cook, about 20 minutes, until the apples are tender and the filling has thickened.  Let cool.

To assemble the pies:

Pre-heat oven to 190C.  Cut the dough in half, on a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough until 1/4 inch thick.  If the dough gets too sticky, then just refrigerate it for another 15 minutes until it is easy to work with again.

Break out your cupcake tin, and get a biscuit cutter or glass that is slightly bigger than the circumference of the circles on your tin.  Cut out the base of the pastry and place in the cupcake tins.  Then grab a bowl or something similar (look at the picture above) that is slightly larger than what you used to cut the base, and cut out the tops.  Now, decided what shapes you want to cut out, holes, lattice, etc.

Add the filling to the base, and brush the rims with a bit of the beaten egg, and then add the top of the crust and press to seal tightly.  Brush the tops of the pies with the egg wash, and add a little sugar to the tops if you want.

Bake in the oven in the middle rack for about 30-35 minutes. Remove from the tin and let cool on a wire rack.  Serve warm with some vanilla ice cream.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla