- Oil spray
- 2 lb potatoes, large long ones (Note 1)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup cream, heavy / thickened (Note 4)
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Black pepper
- 1 cup grated melting cheese (cheddar, gruyere, swiss, mozzarella)
- Fresh thyme leaves for garnish, optional
Preheat oven to 350F/180C.
Spray a standard 12 hole muffin tin with oil.
Peel potatoes. Stand upright then cut into cylinder shapes, then slice potatoes into thin slices around 2mm/ 1/10″ thick.
Place butter, garlic, cream, salt, pepper and dried thyme in a microwave proof cup or bowl, then melt in 30 second bursts.
Stir, then set aside.
Place potato slices into the muffin tin so they go halfway up the muffin tin holes. Try to match by size to make them into neat stacks.
Drizzle each potato stack with 1/2 tsp of cream mixture.
Sprinkle HALF the cheese over the potato stacks.
Top with remaining potato slices. Drizzle with remaining cream mixture and remaining thyme.
Cover loosely with foil and bake for 35 minutes.
Remove from oven, sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake without foil for 10 minutes or until golden and the potato is soft.
Let stand for 5 minutes before removing. Use a tablespoon or butter knife to help scope them out. (Note 3)
1. You need to use starchy potatoes as they breakdown when cooked, becoming nice and fluffy on the inside and golden and crunchy on the outside. The best to use are Russet (common in the US), Dutch creams, King Edwards or red delight. However, great all rounders like golden delight, coliban, red rascal and Sebago (popular in Australia – the dirt brushed ones) still works great.
I use Sebago which are the brushed potatoes you can get from any supermarket in Australia (ie. the ones with dirt on them). If you are based in the US, a great all rounder to use is Russet which I understand is one of the most widely used potatoes in the US.
Get long large ones that are suitable to cut into cylinder shapes.
2. Fantastic for making ahead! Bake per recipe then either freeze them (defrost before reheating) or keep them in the refrigerator. Them pop them in a 50F oven for 10 minutes just to heat through.
3. Spraying the muffin tin + the butter and cream helps keep the gratin stacks from sticking to the muffin tin. Also, the muffin tin I use is non stick. If your muffin tin is not non stick, spray it generously with oil before putting the potato in to ensure it slips out easily! Because starchy potatoes are used for this recipe, they breakdown and become soft so they sort of bond together which helps keep these stacks upright. Some might slide slightly when you take them out but the resting time helps “set” them.
4. Any pourable cream is fine though thickened / heavy cream will yield creamiest result because they have a higher fat content.