Indulge in the savory delight of “Mini Stacked Potato Gratins with Cheese,” where starchy potatoes meld with creamy garlic sauce, fresh thyme, and rich gruyere cheese, all baked to golden perfection in a muffin tin.
Growing up, my family had a deep love for comfort food, and potatoes were a staple at our dinner table. Inspired by this fondness, I wanted to create a dish that was both comforting and elegant. After several trials and a few hilarious kitchen mishaps (imagine potatoes flying everywhere!), I perfected these Mini Stacked Potato Gratins with Cheese. They remind me of cozy family gatherings, laughter echoing in the kitchen, and the warm, cheesy goodness of a home-cooked meal.
Why You’ll Love Mini Stacked Potato Gratins with Cheese
- Adorable Presentation: Baked in a muffin tin, these gratins are not just delicious but also charmingly petite and perfect for individual servings.
- Versatility: Ideal as a side for dinners, a fancy finger food for gatherings, or a unique addition to your breakfast table.
- Flavorful Balance: The combination of creamy garlic sauce, earthy thyme, and rich gruyere cheese creates a symphony of flavors that elevate the humble potato.
Each ingredient in this recipe plays a crucial role in crafting these delightful gratins.
- Starchy Potatoes: Essential for their ability to absorb the creamy sauce and maintain structure.
- Gruyere Cheese: Offers a nutty and slightly sweet flavor, which perfectly complements the potatoes.
- Heavy Cream & Garlic: They form the base of the creamy sauce, infusing the gratins with richness and depth.
- Thyme: Adds a subtle, earthy aroma that enhances the overall taste.
Transforming simple ingredients into these gratins is an art. Here’s how to master it:
- Preparation: Start by preheating your oven and prepping your muffin tin with butter for a non-stick, flavorful base.
- Cream Sauce Creation: Cooking garlic in butter, then simmering with cream, brings out a fragrant, rich sauce that’s the heart of this dish.
- Potato Slicing: Achieving the perfect thinness is key. This ensures even cooking and a delicate texture in every bite.
- Assembling the Stacks: Layering the potatoes with precision ensures each gratin is perfectly formed and cooks evenly.
- Baking to Perfection: A two-step baking process first softens the potatoes, and then a final bake with cheese on top creates a golden, crispy crown.
For leftover gratins, refrigeration is your best bet. They can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave for a quick, delicious treat. Freezing is also an option for longer storage, but be mindful that the texture might change slightly upon thawing.
Variations and Substitutions
Personalizing this recipe to suit your taste or dietary needs is easy and fun.
- Cheese Variations: Swap gruyere with cheddar for a sharper taste, or mozzarella for a gooier texture.
- Adding Protein: For a heartier version, layer in some cooked bacon or ham between the potato slices.
- Vegan Adaptation: Use plant-based cheese and cream to cater to a vegan diet without compromising on the gratin’s essence.
- Herb Alternatives: Rosemary or parsley can be great substitutes if thyme isn’t your favorite.
With these insights, you’re all set to create a dish that’s not just food, but a story on a plate, filled with flavors, memories, and a touch of personal flair!
Mini Stacked Potato Gratins with Cheese
- Vegetable Oil Spray
- 1.2 kilograms of starchy potatoes preferably large and elongated
- 30 grams of unsalted butter
- 2 cloves of garlic finely minced
- 120 milliliters of heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves or 0.75 teaspoon if dried
- 0.5 teaspoon of salt
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 75 grams of gruyere cheese sliced into 12 squares (suitable for fitting into a muffin tin)
- 180 milliliters of gruyere cheese shredded (or another cheese with good melting properties)
- Oven Preheating: Initiate by setting the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C), suitable for all oven types.
- Butter Application to Muffin Tin: Melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Utilize a portion to lightly coat the interior of the muffin tin holes. Reserve the remaining butter for later use.
- Preparation of Cream Sauce: Add minced garlic to the remaining butter in the saucepan, cooking for approximately 20 seconds. Follow this by introducing the cream and salt, bringing the mixture to a simmer. Allow simmering for 30 seconds, then remove from heat and keep warm.
- Potato Slicing: Begin by peeling the potatoes. Cut their bases to create a flat surface so they stand upright. Fashion the potatoes into cylinder shapes that fit within the muffin tin. Proceed to slice these cylinders into 2mm thick pieces, utilizing either a mandolin or a sharp knife for precision.
- Assembly of Potato Stacks: Insert potato slices into the muffin tin, arranging them until they reach halfway up the sides of the tin holes. Strive for uniformity in size to form neat stacks.
- Application of Cream Mixture: Equitably distribute approximately 1 teaspoon of the cream mixture onto each potato stack, utilizing half of the total mixture prepared.
- Cheese Layering: Place a single square of cheese atop each potato stack.
- Final Layering: Add the remaining potato slices atop each stack, ensuring the height extends about 1cm above the muffin tin rim, as they will settle once baked. Drizzle the remaining cream mixture and garnish with most of the thyme, reserving a small amount for final garnishing.
- Initial Baking Phase: Cover the muffin tin loosely with foil and bake for 40 minutes. The potatoes should be tender enough to be pierced easily with a small sharp knife.
- Final Baking Phase with Cheese: Following the initial bake, remove the tin from the oven. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the potato stacks and return to the oven, uncovered, for an additional 10 minutes until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
- Final Garnish and Resting: Once baked, embellish the gratins with the remaining thyme. Allow the gratins to rest for 5 minutes before serving. A tablespoon or butter knife can be employed to assist in removing them from the tin.
- Serving Suggestions: These gratins can be served as a sophisticated side dish with dinner, as a standalone finger food, or as part of a hearty breakfast accompanied by eggs and bacon.