We test everything that we sell and stand behind the results – if they do not stand up to our testing we don’t carry them. Fairly simple. Emile Henry (EH) products, which are French made ceramic baking tools like Tagine, Pizza Stones, Quiche Dishes, Bakers and such, are a core line for us. I’ve sold and used Emile Henry products for over 25 years and still have some pieces from the 90’s!
Even though I’m a big fan of EH products I still like to see them go through the paces to make sure that we’re selling the quality that I expect, and that our entire sales team realizes what they’re selling. Last week we decided to put a large rectangular roaster through a long bake test – we made Winter Squash and Potato Gratin.
I think that Gratin doesn’t get the praise it deserves. Sure, it can be a bit homogeneous, but to me that means you can make simple things into a star – like the squash that adds deep flavour, that sometimes takes a back seat.
While testing our Emile Henry Bakers, Chef Shane made what I thought was going to be a basic Gratin. Was I wrong. As he composed and constructed his ‘Emile Henry Winter Squash and Potato Gratin’, he told me stories of working for Chef Rob Feenie at Lumière, where he would make sheet after sheet of show stopping Gratin. Ok, maybe this guy knows a thing or two.
Simmer cream, butter, and roasted squash for 15 minutes
Blend cream mix for 20 seconds in your Vitamix. Add rosemary and onion
Blend at 10 for 40 seconds
Peel and slice the potatoes
Add the batter to the potatoes and gently combine
In your beautiful Emile Henry Baker, starting at one end, going in a row from one side to the other, layer each piece of potato 1/2 over the other layer and repeat. Salt each layer well.
Once you've layered all the potato, evenly add the cheese and bread crumbs to the top
Cut a layer of parchment paper and layer with tin foil. With your fingers out, press down on the top of the tin foil to squish out any air pockets. Bake and bake and bake.
Take out and cool. Add some green garnish and enjoy!
This dish takes quite a while to cook but is actually very simple to construct. You can go in so many directions with it and can easily add protein if you choose. We made it the hero in this image but I would add a large heap of Arugula with a tangy vinaigrette or any greens with an acidic dressing for a contrasting zip!
The Emile Henry Rectangular Baker gave us excellent results, as expected. Buying a premium baking dish can be questionable as it's not as clear-cut as in buying a fry pan, where you get exactly what you pay for. What I mean by this that part of what you get from Emile Henry products is the stunning beauty. Each piece is designed and hand made in France to present your food on your table like nothing else.
I've found over the years that the technical results of using Emile Henry is only compared to other high quality stoneware - which mostly comes from France. The dense ceramic evenly defuses the heat that helps consistently bake the dish. For example, our Gratin, while it took a long time to cook all the way through the dense potato, the finished result was even with only very slight browning where the fat of the cream and cheese were exposed a the very hot upper edge. I find that this only adds to the beauty of service to the table,
An awesome feature of Emile Henry is that is can go from the freezer or fridge straight into the oven. The entire line is well proven to take the stress of being heated in a hot oven from a frozen mass, which is a huge time saver. I would suggest not to freeze something as large as this recipe unless you thaw it in the fridge for a day first or you will be waiting hours to thaw in the oven!
The dish cleaned up with ease. The baked on fat easily came away from the glaze and with a small amount of scrubbing it was a good as new.
All Emile Henry products come with a 10 year guarantee against workmanship defects.