Why settle for plain old scalloped potatoes when you can have these Tartiflette potatoes with caramelized onion, Brie and creme fraiche?!
I so admire the way the French eat! Not overly complicated, but with thoughtful layering of flavours that complement the main ingredient in the most wonderful way possible. This Tartiflette is a perfect example. Rather than a big pan of simple creamy potatoes (aka Scalloped Potatoes) for your Easter dinner, why not consider the Tartiflette – a smaller pan, full of layers of deliciousness.
The deliciousness of which I speak is no less than low and slow, perfectly caramelized onions, a splash of wine, real cream, creme fraiche and a topping of Brie cheese.
Cook’s Notes for Tartiflette
It’s probably worth noting that as these are rich potatoes, a little goes a long way. Literally one spoonful is a nice serving, so this small pan is 3 or 4 servings. You can certainly double (or triple) the recipe to feed more, if you like.
Classic French Tartiflette is made with a French cheese called Reblochon. If you have access to a good cheese market, certainly seek it out and use it instead of the Brie. For the rest of us, that must rely on what we can get, Brie is a quite suitable substitute.
Speaking of the Brie, it’s your call if you want to cut off the rind or not. I didn’t and quite liked the bit of nuttiness it brought to the dish. (Cooking removed that bit of bitterness that raw Brie rind sometimes has). Certainly cut it off, if you prefer.
Substitute for Crème Fraîche
Due to high butter fat content creme fraiche, it won’t curdle when cooked at higher temperatures (or when combined with an acid like wine) Since we have both going on with this recipe, when it comes to picking a substitute, if you can’t find Crème Frâiche, our goal it to replace it with something similarly high in butter fat.
Option 1: Make your own Crème Frâiche if you have enough lead time to do so (24-36 hours) See below for how to make your own at home.
Option 2: A mix of heavy cream and sour cream. Whisk up 1 Tbsp heavy cream until thickened and then stir in 1 Tbsp full fat sour cream.
Option 3: Mexican Crema, if that is more accessible as an option
Option 4: Mascarpone. It will be tangier, but similarly high fat. It is expensive though, so unless you have more uses for it, it probably isn’t practical to buy for just 2 Tbsp.
How to Make Your Own Crème Fraîche
1 to 2 tablespoons cultured buttermilk
2 cups heavy cream (pasteurized, but not ultra pasteurized and with no additives)
Combine the buttermilk and cream in a saucepan and heat slowly over medium heat just until it reaches 85F on an instant read thermometer (or just warm to the touch). Pour into a clean glass jar. Partially cover and let stand at room temperature for 8 to 24 hours or until thickened. Stir and refrigerate at least 24 hours before using. It will keep about 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
- 1 large russet potato scrubbed (about 10oz in weight)
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 small yellow halved and thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- 1 1/4 tsp sugar
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves plus more for garnish
- 2 Tbsp crème fraîche
- 8 oz. Reblochon or Brie Cheese* cut into 1/4-inch slices
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Grease a 7-inch round baking dish and set on a baking sheet. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, cover the unpeeled potato with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium. Cook until just tender, about 25 - 30 minutes. Let cool slightly, then peel and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion and 2 tsp. of kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to brown, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the sugar, then half of the wine, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Cook, stirring, until the liquid is reduced and the onion is golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining wine. Cook, stirring, until the onion is deep brown and jammy, about 8 to 10 minutes more. Stir in the thyme leaves. Remove from heat.
- Arrange half of the potato slices in the prepared baking dish. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Top with half of the onion. Repeat with the remaining potato slices and onion. Drizzle with the crème fraîche. Top with the cheese slices. Bake in preheated oven until golden-brown and bubbling at the edges, about 15 - 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Adapted from an Angie Mar recipe