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in the kitchen with: béatrice peltre’s gratin dauphinois

by Kristina Gill

We are very happy to welcome Béatrice Peltre back to the column after two and a half years! As always, she has shared the perfect autumn recipe with beautiful colors and rich flavors (and it’s gluten free!). This would be absolutely perfect for Thanksgiving, or even better, reheated until good and crispy at the edges on the day after. If you’re interested in more great recipes by Béa in addition to her blog La Tartine Gourmande, mark your calendars. She’s just finished writing a cookbook with her own recipes, styling and photographs, which will be published next fall! Congrats Béa! — Kristina

About Béatrice: Béatrice Peltre, author of the food blog La Tartine Gourmande, is a French expatriate who works as a freelance food writer, stylist and photographer. She particularly loves to highlight the natural beauty of food and has a strong interest in food and travel stories. Her clients include Boston Magazine, Chronicle Books and Trader Joe’s; she is also a regular contributor to the Boston Globe food section. Béatrice’s work has been featured in many magazines and on French television, and she recently won Saveur’s Best Interest Food Blog award. She currently lives in Boston with her husband and 22-month-old daughter, Lulu.

CLICK HERE for the full recipe after the jump!

Sage-Flavored Gratin Dauphinois with Potato, Sweet Potato and Pink Turnips
Serves 4 to 6 people


  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • unsalted butter, for the baking dish
  • 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 twig of thyme
  • 1 lb and 9 oz (700 g) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced finely with a mandolin
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced finely with a mandolin
  • 5 small pink turnips, peeled and sliced finely with a mandolin
  • 6 sage leaves, chopped finely
  • sea salt and pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1 oz finely grated Comté cheese


1. Rub a 12 x 8.5-inch baking dish with two halves of one garlic clove. Butter the dish generously. Slice the halves of garlic and place them at the bottom of the dish. Set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

3. In a pot, heat the milk and heavy cream with the remaining garlic halves and the thyme. Bring to a simmer and then stop the heat. Cover and let infuse for 30 minutes. Strain, discarding the garlic and thyme, and reheat.

4. Tightly arrange the slices of vegetables at the bottom of the dish, alternating between one layer of potato slices, one layer of sweet potatoes and one layer of turnips. Repeat until you run out of ingredients.

5. Add the sage and then pour the milk/cream batter over the vegetables — the milk should cover the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with the nutmeg. Top with the grated cheese.

6. Bake the gratin for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until the top has a nice golden color. Serve warm as a side dish.

Why Béa Chose This Recipe
I chose to prepare a gratin dauphinois because it’s the kind of dish that brings me back to my childhood and French roots, one that I keep reinventing like in this recipe, one that my husband P. and I — and friends when they come around — always fight over for the last piece. Traditionally, a gratin dauphinois would not have cheese and would only use potatoes, but I find the flavors of [the] root vegetables and Comté cheese in the dish completely irresistible. It’s the most delicious, comfy food you can imagine. Elegant when served in small individual ramekins. Casual and unpretentious when baked in a large dish. And always very French, either way!

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  • Being a southern girl, I looked at this recipe first with bemused wonder. I could not see how the sweet potatoes would work next to turnip and potato.

    But, you know, the more that I think about it, the better is sounds. I am usually the Queen of the Candied Sweet Potatoes in my house, and I don’t know how the family will react, but I am going to give this recipe a try for Thanksgiving–even though I have absolutely no idea where one purchases such a thing as pink turnips.

  • I LOVE Bea’s blog. I follow her and she has the most beautiful pictures and most wonderful recipes. Lulu is sure one lucky kid. Warning: her blog will make you super hungry! Can’t wait for her book.

  • Thank you for having me back!

    Teresa, if you have a local farmer’s market, try there. This is where I’ve found the most beautiful pink turnips! I hope you and your family enjoy the recipe.

  • I’ve never seen pink turnips either – you could probably use white and then large radishes for the color – same family.

  • Such a beautiful dish and so fantastically photographed –with pink turnip matching table cloth and all! I will try this myself so I can enjoy the taste as well. Thank you!

  • Thank you!

    Luna Fire, Comté cheese is made from an unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese, nutty and slightly sweet in taste. I always keep some in my fridge. Indispensable for a French girl living in America! :-) That said, if you cannot find it (Whole Foods carries it, for example), I would suggest a rich cheddar cheese. Some people would also use Emmenthal instead.

  • This is a lovely variation of a French classic! A colorful potato bake like this one is hard to resist. Congratulations Béa for your stunning pictures and beutiful blog, that I enjoy so much reading.

  • I studied in France and, although my host mother nearly starved me to death, one of my best memories is of eating this very dish at a quaint cafe in Grenoble. Thank you for this. Lovely!

  • Merci for sharing and making me discover la tartine gourmande!
    The photos are as nourishing as the recipe I think! Sandrine x

  • WOW, so simple, so gorgeous.

    … talk about food-porn :) im just drooling in my office, hoping nobody walks in!

    Thanks for sharing. I will have a new dish for the family to try out this thursday :P

  • Such fantastic timing, as I am looking for great recipes to celebrate my in-laws’ 40th anniversary. I am so excited to make this for them!

  • This gratin sounds very easy and delicious and yes, as you said, comfy food!! I would like to try it soon… Bea’s pictures are so perfect and lovely.

  • Thank you for sharing this recipe. Can’t wait to sample it. Try watermelon radishes for the pink turnips, beautiful color and something you may be able to get at your local farmers market this time of year. .

  • The lovley pics and soft colors of this dish pulled me right in. I made this today for Thanksgiving and it was sooooo delicious!

    thanks for sharing~

  • I was drawn in by the gorgeous photographs, but the recipe–OH YUM! My husband and I were fighting over the leftovers the next night. I’m new to your work and will be making a few more of your recipes very soon! (Especially the gluten-free). Thanks for sharing!

  • A gorgeous recipe. And correct, the turnips and sweet potato really make the dish. I made it with Harvarti cheese, as could not find Comte cheese. Its so good, I’m making it for Christmas Lunch at my mother-in-laws. Thank you!

  • since seeing this over the summer i still cant get it out of my head! my oh my the gorgeous colors! i think i’m going to try to make this in a pie pan for thanksgiving as a wonderful colorful addition to the meal… practicing soon-eeek! fingers crossed i can find pretty turnips!