I invented this concoction and have won over the most ardent of parsnip haters (always due to filthy boiled parsnips at school).
Peel the parsnips, quarter them and cut into chunks. Have ready a saucepan of boiling salted water. Throw in the garlic cloves for a few moments’ boiling, retrieve with a slotted spoon and peel. Put the parsnips and garlic in the water to boil until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Drain well and either process or put through a mouli-légumes sieve. Beat in the butter and then the cream. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Place the mixture in a gratin dish, spreading it out evenly, then grill until you have a nice brown crust. You can prepare the whole thing ahead if you like and just heat it up in the oven when required. It is fantastically good and goes especially well with game or strong-flavoured dishes.
© 1996 Jennifer Paterson and Clarissa Dickson Wright estate. All rights reserved.