Get your mandoline out, try to not slice off your fingertips, and add that extra belt notch, because we’re talking heavy cream, thick cheese, and thin vegetables slices ladies and gents; we’re making a gratin.
To start, get 2-2.5 cups of heavy cream simmering in a small pot. Add fresh thyme, cracked black pepper, nutmeg, garlic powder, onion powder, a pinch of smoked paprika, and a very small amount of cinnamon. Add low heat, stir until warm. Remove from heat and let sit for 25-30 minutes so the cream gets super infused and full of a Fall flavor explosion.
Now for the root vegetables; think Snooki, short and stumpy is what we’re going for here folks. You want to uniformly layer this thing, so we want a nice round middle. Also like Snooki, we don’t want orange (as in no carrots – too skinny). Use turnips, rutabagas, celery root, sweet and regular potatoes, and larger parsnips. Wash, cut the ends off, and peel. Unless you’re a Samurai Ninja, don’t use a knife. It’s very tedious and hard to slice uniformly and thinly. Buy a mandolin if you don’t have one, and use the finger guard. Gratins are awesome; attempting to eat a gratin with nubbins because you sliced your fingers off is not awesome.
Butter the bottom of your casserole dish, layer root veggies, top with shredded Gruyere cheese, more layers, more cheese, repeat until filled (don’t add cheese yet to the top layer). Take your simmered cream, and pour all over the top, shaking the pan to get it in the nooks. Top with cheese (I hit my top with cracked pepper too).
Cover, bake at 350 for an hour, remove foil, either bake for 20 mins until golden yummy melty cheesey crusty goodness forms, or hit it under the broiler. Let cool a bit, cut, eat, gain 2 pounds, enjoy. Wash it down with a Fall pumpkin beer equally as awesome as you are for making this sweet gratin.