It is unlikely that I will ever utter a bad word about a dish that combines potatoes, bacon, cream, and buttery pie crust, and this torte is no exception. The only bad thing, really, is that it’s so fabulous you’ll be in danger of eating the entire thing by yourself. Multiple layers of thinly sliced potatoes and crispy bacon are given a healthy drink of thick cream, and encased in one of the flakiest pie crusts I have ever eaten. You tell me if you can think of anything not fantastic about that combination. I love the rustic nature of this dish – it’s simple yet hearty and satisfying; a meal that not only fills your stomach but also warms your soul. Some dishes just have that indescribable element, and this is one of them.
This recipe comes from the winner of The Next Food Network Star, Melissa d’Arabian, and was featured on the first episode of her new show, Ten Dollar Dinners. Since I had done a recap of some of the winning dishes from the show for my FoodBuzz 24,24,24 event, I thought it only fitting that I give the first recipe from the new show a shot too. I actually watched the episode and thought Melissa did a great job – I learned a few different tid bits (a splash of soy sauce in a vinaigrette can pump up the flavor!) – and I was obviously enthralled by this dish. It looked fabulous and I was thrilled that it tasted even better than it looked on the show! A definite must-try if there ever was one.
I would now like to shamelessly show off my new Le Creuset pie dish:
Isn’t she pretty? This is my second Le Creuset piece (I have a 7.25-quart dutch oven in the same color – Flame Red) and I can’t wait add more pieces! Thank you, Chief Culinary Consultant, for the best pie dish ever!
Okay, enough talk, go make this torte and enjoy a big forkful for me!
Yield: Serves 8
Prep Time: 1 hour
Cook Time: 50 to 60 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
4 slices bacon, cooked crisp
3 medium baking potatoes, peeled
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup grated Swiss cheese
2/3 cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon dried thyme
1 egg yolk, whisked with a splash of water
For the Pie Crust:
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
8 to 10 tablespoons ice water
1. To make the Pie Crust: Put the flour and salt in a food processor and pulse briefly to combine. Add the chilled butter and pulse 5 to 10 times until the mixture resembles looks like coarse crumbs. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing briefly after each addition. Continue adding water until the dough just begins to gather in large clumps.
2. Divide the dough into 2 equal amounts, shape into disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Remove one of the disks and place on a floured surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 10-inch circle. Gently lift the dough into a 9-inch pie pan, and refrigerate while you prepare the torte ingredients.
3. To make the torte: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
4. Remove the pie pan from the refrigerator. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise, and then thinly slice into half moons. Working in circles, arrange the potato slices in the pie crust to cover the bottom. Season with salt and pepper, and crumble one piece of the bacon over the potatoes. Repeat the layers three more times. The pan should be nearly full. Top with the shredded cheese.
5. Whisk the dried thyme into the cream and slowly pour the cream around and over the entire pie, allowing it to seep down between the potato slices.
6. Roll out the remaining disk of refrigerated dough. Cover the pie with the dough and crimp the edges closed. Brush the top and edges of the crust with egg wash. Make a few slits in the center of the top crust, for the steam to escape, and put the pie pan on a baking sheet.
7. Bake the torte until the crust is browned and crispy and the potatoes are cooked through, 50 to 60 minutes. If the crust edges get too brown, cover them with some strips of aluminum foil. Remove the pie from the oven and let rest at least 15 minutes before serving.