Gratins made in the traditional style from Dauphine in France, get their name from the golden crust that forms on the surface of a dish when it is cooked in a hot oven. The crust is usually formed from grated cheese, breadcrumbs or egg. A very traditional Dauphinois is made only with potatoes and cream, so the challenge of making it wholly plant-based relies completely on selecting the correct replacement for the cream.
I tried many variations that led to a disappointing dish that tasted too sweet…despite using unsweetened non-dairy milk. I finally decided to use a combination of oat cream and soy milk which gave the dish the correct thickness and did not taste overly sweet. Make sure you read the label on the oat cream and use one with few ingredients. The one I used only had a thickener, oats, water and organic sunflower oil.
Gratins can be made in any dish, but I like to use a heavy cast iron pan because the gratin doesn’t stick to the surface and it looks rather rustic and cool. I would also suggest having a type of slicer (like a mandoline) to cut the potatoes unless you possess excellent knife skills. It is important for the potatoes to be an even thickness to promote even cooking.
Now, about those potatoes… The ones used in France are always of the waxy variety (the ones that hold their shape when cooking and not ones typically used for baking or making purees).
You can dive deeper into the world of potatoes in our Ingredients section.
Yield: Makes 1 medium-sized gratin – enough for 4-6 servings
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