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need professional help...

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
posted this down in general food & didn't get a response, hope the pros have an answer for me....

I have been making a potatoes au gratin [COLOR=#006666! important][FONT=verdana, geneva, lucida, 'lucida grande', arial, helvetica, sans-serif][COLOR=#006666! important][FONT=verdana, geneva, lucida, 'lucida grande', arial, helvetica, sans-serif]recipe[/FONT][/FONT][/COLOR][/COLOR] that calls for a mix of 1.5c creme fraiche + 1/3c whipping cream. The first half dozen times I made it, it was fine, the last two it came out very greasy, any ideas why?

Calls for yukon gold potatoes, prefer them, used them most of the time, but used russets in one of the greasy recipes & a couple of the good ones, starts it at 400 deg for the the first 1/2 hour, then decreases to 350 for the last half hour.

Help, the recipe tastes wonderful, & I don't want to give it up because of the grease. It has been the same brand of creme fraiche, not out dated every time. (tried to make it once ages ago, was a dismal failure, has not been attempted since & have never used homemade in any of my cooking-was afraid I'd kill someone, plus it never thickened up....)
post #2 of 6
um the title of your thread, "need professional help", is amusing :D
post #3 of 6
Hard to say without seeing it, but it sounds like your cream broke. Could be that the heat was a little too high, or that the cooking time was too long. Even if you followed the recipe the same way, sometimes little differences like oven hot spots, different pan or time/temp issues can cause it.
It's Good To Be The King!
It's Good To Be The King!
post #4 of 6
i usually make mine with just heavy cream that has been warmed before pouring over the potatoes..i think your creme fraiche broke..don't think it has anything to do with the type of potato you use..hope this is helpful

food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne


food is like love...it should be entered into with abandon or not at all        Harriet Van Horne

post #5 of 6
Agree with durangojo and Montelago as to problem and cause, agree with Yeti as to pun.

Agree with you too: it's frustrating when the cream breaks.

As to spuds, the two types you've mentioned, Golds and Russets, are the two best. Everything else is too waxy. I suppose you could slice Russets a little thinner than Golds but that's not only speculation it's getting over-refined.

There are three things at work the gratin during cooking: Water from the cream, butterfat from the cream and starch from the potatoes. If it cooks too long and/or too hot, the starch de-gelatinizes and the water and butter separate.

How do you prevent this?

From the most general standpoint: Free yourself from the tyranny of the clock. Recipe cooking times and temperatures are only guides. A dish is done when it's done, not when a magazine editor guessed it would be.

More specifically: Most dishes allow a great deal of latitude in "done," unfortunately a potato gratin is not one of them. You have to watch it carefully. It will go through distinct phases.
1. Very wet with big fast cream bubbles.
2. Less wet, but still wet, with smaller bubbles
3. Browning, thick cream, small bubbles, a few drops of butter-oil visible.

When you see those golden drops, STOP and GET IT OUT of the oven.

You may get a gratin with less browning than you want. If so, after the gratin has rested for at least 10 minutes, run it under a very hot broiler for a couple of minutes. BTW this is common practice in restaurants. They use such small, shallow gratins that a trip under the salamander is enough to reheat.

Tip: If there are Mexican or Hispanic markets near you, they usually carry a product called crema fresa with the other bottled sour creams. Crema fresa is (you guessed it)creme fraiche. Same stuff, but sold at a much better price than it's French-named counterpart. The catch is (there's always a catch) that you won't get the same break at a Supermarket that carries some Mexican items -- It's got to be a real honest to goodness mercado or supermercado for the gran discuenta. Side benefits? Great produce at great prices, truly fresh tortillas often made on the premises, and tons of other wonderful stuff.

Hope this helps,
post #6 of 6
Disagree. This is when you cover the top with shredded cheese and brown it. ;)

OK OK, he's right. Listen to BDL. :D
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