Eek! - last little messy gratin - almost forgot to take photo...

Eek! - last little messy gratin - almost forgot to take photo...

I just made these to accompany a New Year's Eve fondue, and since the recipe takes its inspiration from November 2003 (BBC Good Food) - it's pretty clear I have been making these for over a decade - with my own variations. They are always a big hit. I filled the serving dish three times and then panicked because by the time I remembered to take a photo for this blog, there was only one left!!

These bake up in 40-45 minutes. There is some prep which may seem fiddly, but just go into Zen mode - everyone will love the result!! You'll need:

  • two large muffin tins - grease, butter or Pam spray - I tend to end up filling 1.5 of the muffin cups = 18 mini gratins - and I have seen 4 people demolish that many
  • cut lengths of waxed or parchment paper (about 6' long) and fold into 1 inch strips and then place criss-cross into each muffin space - in recent years I only do one strip per muffin cup. Push the strip down to fit snugly – this makes it easy to lift mini gratins out afterwards. This part seems fiddly, but you will be so happy you took the time to do this. (See Photo below.)
  • Preheat oven to 350 F 


1 lb (approx) potatoes (peeled)
(or a mixture of potatoes / sweet potatoes)

I couldn't tell you anymore if what I use measures to a pound. I sort of eyeball how many of the muffin cups will be filled by the potatoes I have. For this last batch I used 6 small potatoes and 1 sweet potato. The ratio doesn't matter - I bet it would be great using all sweet potatoes. 

Slice as thinly as possible (about 1/8") - ideally using a mandolin - and place in a bowl.

5 ounces whipping cream
5 ounces whole milk
salt and pepper

Pour over potatoes and mix very well, ensuring that liquid gets between the layers (best done by hand).

Layer potatoes slices into muffin tins. Play around with this until you get them all to about the same height - but do not overfill. I mentioned above that I tend to end up with about 18 cups filled - you may end up with more or less - not a big deal.

Once you've layered each cup, pour the remaining liquid into a spouted measuring cup to make the next step easier. Pour remaining cream over the potatoes in each tin – do a little in each, aiming for a fairly even distribution of the liquid. Ensure that the liquid does not overflow - mind you, I don't ever come close to filling each cup. Wipe up any splashes of cream around tin holes so that they do not burn.

Bake 40-45 minutes until golden. Leave to rest a few minutes before running knife around each one. Lift out with the help of a fork. In a perfect world they will look like a mini scalloped potato pile. If I rush, mine sometimes slide around a bit during the serving stage - no one cares - like magic they are gone!!

Make clean-up easier by soaking tins in soapy water.

Notes and Tips...

Proof that I can be lazy - only did one piece of parchment instead of two - regretted it later...

Proof that I can be lazy - only did one piece of parchment instead of two - regretted it later...

  • Potatoes -  Choose slender potatoes or cut them in half before using mandolin so that slices are not too big to fit into muffin tin. Ideally small potatoes, whose circumference matches the muffin tin size will be the best. When a piece doesn't fit - just break it into a size that does. I have used baking potatoes and Yukon Gold - both work fine.
  • Make ahead - there's not a lot you can do ahead of time - other than prepping the parchment strips. Once peeled, potatoes dis-colour quickly, although if they are thoroughly mixed with the cream/milk you can prevent that for a while. Seems to work for me to fill the muffin tins about a half hour before I plan to put these into the oven. They can certainly be reheated next day as leftovers, but for guests, they are best fresh from the oven.
  • Liquid - I begin with the prescribed measures of liquid, but sometimes add more. For example, if there's another ounce or so of cream in my container, I just dump it into the mix. No big deal if you have a bit of leftover cream/milk mixture.
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