Easy, elegant, and almost guaranteed to impress. Baked potato never tasted so good as it does in this glowing iteration. A few simple ingredients, some preparation and assembly, and you’re done. Aluminum foil is your friend!
To make this you’ll need 2 loaf pans (preferably with squared corners and almost vertical sides), a mandolin (that can slice about 1mm thin), a cheese grater, and a piece of stiff cardboard cut to the size of the bottom of your loaf pan, then wrapped in foil.
2 cups heavy cream (whipping cream)
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh ground pepper
4-6 Yukon Gold potatoes (figure about one medium potato per serving) (Russet potatoes work, too, but I’ve had better luck with Yukon Gold.
Line one of the loaf pans with foil, letting it hang over all sides to facilitate removal after baking. Cover the stiff cardboard with foil, making sure that one side has no seams in it. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Put the cream into a medium or large glass bowl. Cut your potatoes into a boxcar shape, then slice them with the mandolin, placing the slices into the cream as you complete each potato. Use your hands to make sure the slices are getting exposed to the cream. Slice all of the potatoes before moving to the next step.
At this point I recommend putting the foil loaf pan in a sheet pan; it’ll catch any spills while preparing and while baking.
Place a layer of slices in the bottom of the loaf pan. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then grate Parmesan uniformly over the layer. Add another layer of potato, add salt, pepper, and cheese, and repeat the process until all of the potatoes are in the loaf pan. You should have some cream left in the bowl, so ladle it around the potatoes to fill the gap between the potatoes and the sides of the loaf pan.
Butter the downward facing side, and place the wrapped cardboard on top of the potatoes; then press it down hard. Put the second loaf pan on top, and fill it with beans, or rice, or water, or pie weights. You want to keep the downward pressure on while the potatoes cook.
Leave it in the sheet pan, and place all in the oven and let bake for 1 hour.
Once baked, open the oven to let some heat out, then remove from the oven to cool some more. Once cool enough to handle, lift the potatoes from the pan, remove the cardboard, fold the foil down all around, and allow it to cool completely.
If serving immediately, cut to serving size, and put each serving piece in a pan of heated butter; let it cook for about two minutes, turn, and repeat for the other side. Then it’s ready.
If preparing for later, you can slice and refrigerate, or refrigerate and then slice – it’s up to you. You can also slice and then freeze.