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A crusty, creamy French homestyle potato galette baked in a skillet, layered with thin-sliced potatoes, cream, leeks and gruyere cheese. Serve this classic dish inspired by Julia Child as a side dish or for brunch, or with a green salad for a light dinner.
A perfect potato galette is all about thin-sliced golden potatoes layered with leeks, creme fraiche and lots of cheese. The top of the potatoes turns golden and crusty in the oven, while the inside of the cake is tender and creamy. So good!!
You can bet that this creamy potato galette is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, one of the best homemade potato recipes I can think of.
It’s comfort food times ten, a dish to serve for brunch, as a side dish or an unfussy supper along with a salad.
You have to admit that French cooks have a way with spuds — or excuse me pomme de terre. How do they transform the humblest of vegetables into delicious (and definitely decadent) creamy potato galette and potato gratin?
The secret may be that the French aren’t shy about using butter and cream, and potatoes seem to be happiest when cooked in delicious fat.
Classic French potato galette
Julia Child’s classic recipes for pommes Anna and potato galette were some of the first dishes I attempted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two — along with her amazing seafood bouillabaisse recipe.
The basic recipe stands as one of my all-time favorite recipes, and it requires just two ingredients: Thinly sliced potatoes and lots of butter (of course).
My version of this recipe is technically a type of scalloped potato dish because it includes milk, cheese and eggs. The eggs form a light creamy custard as the potatoes bake and the cheese makes a savory crust on top of the cake.
Basic how-to steps
- To prepare potatoes for potato galette, they’re thinly sliced and layered into an all-purpose cast iron skillet.
- Cooking begins on the stovetop, then the pan is placed in a hot oven to finish cooking. The middle of the galette gets soft and tender, while the top and bottom of the potato cake form a crisp, brown crust.
- Those crusted parts taste like the best potato chips you’ve ever had!
Best types of cheese to use in potato galette
- Comté and Gruyere are two of the best cheeses to use in a French potato cake. They are nicely melty and taste nutty — they’re interchangeable in this recipe. They’re both cow’s milk cheeses from the Alpine regions of France and Switzerland, but they don’t have holes like typical Swiss cheese.
- You can substitute with an aged Gouda or Emmenthaler cheese.
Gruyere Cheese Potato Galette with Leeks
- 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup (230 g) creme fraiche
- 1 crushed garlic clove
- Kosher salt
- ½ cup (120 ml) whole milk
- 1 ½ pounds (680 g) Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced into ⅛-inch-thick rounds
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 ½ cups (198 g) grated Comté, or Gruyere cheese
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees (180 C) with the rack positioned in the center of the oven.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in an 8-10-inch cast iron skillet or heavy ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and cook until wilted and golden, stirring frequently. Remove the leeks from the pan and set aside. Wipe out the pan.
- Whisk the eggs, creme fraiche, garlic and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl.
- Put the milk in a small saucepan over medium heat. As soon as the edges of the milk start to bubble, remove from the heat. Slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture, whisking at the same time.
- Add the remaining butter to the skillet and smear it around to coat. Arrange a layer of potatoes in a concentric circle on the base of the pan. Sprinkle generously with salt and black pepper. Pour ⅓ of the egg mixture over the potatoes and sprinkle with ⅓ of the leeks and cheese. Repeat the layers twice more.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake 40 minutes. Stick a small sharp knife down into the center of the potatoes to make sure they're tender. If not, bake 5-10 more minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 25 minutes, until the top is golden and the cheese is bubbling.
- Let cool at least 15 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, slice into wedges and serve.
Karen’s Notes and Tips
- Comté and Gruyere are two of the best cheeses to use in a French potato cake. They are nicely melty and taste nutty — they’re interchangeable in this recipe. An aged gouda or Emmenthaler can be substituted.
- To make ahead: Prepare the recipe through step 5. Cover and refrigerate up to a day ahead before baking.
- Be sure to season the potato layers evenly with plenty of salt for the best flavor.
- Leftovers taste great and reheat easily in a 350F oven.