Gratin dauphinois

Ingredients to serve 8 people:

3 lb of potatoes (about 8 or 9 large potatoes)
2 cups of milk
salt, pepper and nutmeg
2 Tbsp of butter
3 cloves of garlic crushed
bouquet garnis (bay leaf, thyme, parsley)
1 cup of crème fraîche
1 cup Swiss cheese

  • Peel and clean the potatoes.
  • Cut them into thick slices.
  • In a large pan melt the butter and slightly cook the garlic in it.
  • Add the potatoes.
  • Put in the bouquet garnis, salt, and pepper.
  • Cover and cook gently for 5 to 10 minutes
  • In the meantime heat the milk and add a pinch of nutmeg.
  • Pour the hot milk on the potatoes and cook slowly for 15-20 minutes or until potatoes are barely tender.
  • Discard the bouquet garnis.
  • Take 2 oven-proof dishes and put 1/4 cup of crême fraiche at the bottom of each dish.
  • With a slotted spoon divide the potatoes between the 2 dishes.
  • Divide the remaining milk between the two dishes.
  • Divide the rest of the crème fraîche on top of each dish and sprinkle the cheese on both.
  • Put in the oven at 375°F until brown on top (about 15 to 20 minutes).

Pie filling

Filling – with crème fraîche

This should be prepared in advance, as it takes 6 hours (or overnight) for the crème fraîche to form.

3/4 to 1 cup of crème fraîche
3 egg yolks
1-2 Tbsp of sugar

Crème fraîche

1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream

  • Combine the sour cream and heavy whipping cream, and put in a warm location until it thickens (for example, in the oven with the oven light on).

Pie Filling

  • Combine the crème fraîche gently with the egg yolks and sugar.
  • Put a thin layer in pie crust and cook until set.
  • Fill the crust with the rest of the crème fraîche mixture and lay the fruit in it.
  • Cook at 375°F for 20 to 45 minutes, depending on the fruit.

Filling – a lighter alternative

2 eggs
2 cups of milk
1/4 cup of sugar
1 1/2 tsp of vanilla

  • Because this custard filling is less thick than the one made with crème fraîche, it may not set as thoroughly.  This may cause the pie crust to become soggy when cooking.
  • In order to protect the crust, while it is warm it can be glazed with an apricot or currant jelly.  Certain fruits (like blueberries) can also be lightly coated with flour to absorb some of the excess moisture.
  • Continue this recipe as above.

Crème St. Honoré

This is a crème patissiere with almonds.

1-2/3 cups milk
1 tsp of vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup of granulated sugar
1/3 cup of flour
1 cup of whipping cream & 2 Tbsp of sugar

  • Scald the milk, add vanilla
  • Meanwhile stir egg yolks and gradually add sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow.
  • Add the flour.
  • Slowly add the hot milk, stirring constantly.
  • Pour in a saucepan and bring slowly to boiling.
  • Work very fast to avoid lumps.

Crème patissière

Assemble and measure all ingredients before starting.  Work quickly.

For one cup (about 40 puffs)

1-1/2 Tbsp of all purpose flour
1-1/2 Tbsp of cornstarch
1/3 cup of sugar
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp of butter
1 cup of milk
1 Tbsp of rum or Cognac

For 4 cups (160 puffs)

6 Tbsp of all purpose flour
6 Tbsp of cornstarch
1-1/3 cup of sugar
8 large egg yolks
8 Tbsp of butter
4 cups of milk
4 Tbsp of rum or Cognac 

  • Sift flour in 2 quart mixing bowl.
  • Add sugar and mix well.
  • In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk slightly with a fork.
  • Knead 2 Tbsp of butter with the heel of your hand and reserve.
  • In a 2 1/2 quart saucepan bring the milk to a boil.
  • Pour half the milk in the flour bowl and beat quickly until smooth.
  • Add the egg and blend well.
  • Pour this mixture into the remaining milk.
  • Bring back to the boil if necessary.
  • Cook for 30 seconds or until thick.
  • Cool by putting bottom of pan in cold water, continue beating.
  • When just warm, add rum.
  • Whisk in the butter and mix until incorporated.
  • Cover and refrigerate.

Crème anglaise

1 1/2 cup of milk
1 tsp of vanilla
4 egg yolks
3 Tbsp of sugar

  • Warm the milk in a small pan and add the vanilla.
  • Put the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and mix until lemon colored.
  • Add the milk gradually while mixing well.
  • Pour back into the pan and cook gently, stirring all the time until the crème anglaise coats the spoon.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Cover and refrigerate.