Alsatian Potato Pie

Summer is probably not the best time to make pastry dough because the butter melts so fast! Thank God for ready-made puff pastry dough at the supermarket! But it’s definitely more rewarding to make your own and you can be promised a more flavourful buttery dough. For now, I have to be contented with store-bought ones.

This recipe is from Martha Stewart’s Pies and Tarts cookbook. The pictures are just so attractive and since I have a sudden liking to savoury tarts and pies, I couldn’t wait till cooler temperature to start making them!

According to MS, the Alsatian Potatoe Pie is inspired by the robust cooking of Alsace, a region in northeastern France bordering Germany. This flaky pie contains a rich filling of potatoes, Gruyere cheese, leeks, and garlic-infused cream. Rather than adding the cream to the filling at the beginning, this recipe suggests pouring through the vents on top of the pie only after the pastry has turned golden brown and then baked 10 minutes more. This allows the crust to crisp properly and keeps the potatoes from soaking up all the cream before the pie has finished baking. Makes sense.

3 Yukon Gold potatoes peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick rounds
1 cup heavy cream
5 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (would omit this in future; not too my liking)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise, and washed well
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 large egg yolk, for egg wash
All-purpose flour, for dusting
1 box store-bought puff pastry, thawed
1 1/2 grated Gruyere cheese

1. Cover potatoes with water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Season water with salt; cook until just tender, 13 to 15 minutes. Drain, and let cool.

2. Bring 3/4 cup plus 3 tbsp cream, the garlic, and nutmeg to a boil in a small saucepan. Cook mixture until reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add leek; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley; season with salt and pepper.

4. Whisk egg yolk and remaining 1 tbsp cream in a small bowl. On a lightly floured surface, roll out and trim dough into two 13-by-6-inch rectangles. I didn’t roll out my dough and just used the default size (the pack comes with 2 pieces of pastry dough). Set one of them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Top with half the potatoes, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around and overlapping potatoes slightly. Top with half the leek mixture and half the cheese; season with salt and pepper. Repeat layering with remaining potatoes, leeks and cheese. Brush edges of dough with egg wash. Cover with remaining dough rectangle; gently press edges with a fork to seal. Cut 2-inch slits crosswise in centre of crust, 2 inches apart, to let steam escape. Brush with egg wash. Refrigerate pie until firm, about 30 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 400F. Bake until golden brown and puffy, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven. Pour cream mixture into pie vents using a small spoon. Bake 10 minutes more. Transfer pie to a wire rack and let stand 15 minutes before serving.

Malted Chocolate Macarons

At last…macarons again. This morning has been rather cool and it’s back to baking again!

The hubs thought the ganache made the whole macarons taste less than sweet. “Macarons are supposed to be sweet right?” I thought that it was okay but we all have different tastebuds, so that’s all right.

Not sure how the two of us would be able to finish these macarons but we’ll try. More running perhaps?

Some of my macarons have really awful cracks. Hisako Ogita in her book, I love macarons, suggested that:
1. they are baked without drying the surface of the macarons.
2. I did not use two oven trays when baking.
3. The oven was too hot, and the bottom of the baking sheet got too much heat.

I quite suspect that the heat in the oven was too hot. These days, things get baked faster than expected. Perhaps, it’s the weather?