Pie and salad? Yes, that is basically what this is. I guess Melissa D'Arabian is taking over my blog for the time being. She does do a really nice job of creating recipes that are actually affordable. This torte is just a basic pie crust, filled with potatoes, swiss cheese, bacon and heavy cream. Believe it or not, the salad is key. The torte is rich and creamy and it tastes best when each bite has a little salad in it. The acid from the balsamic dressing cuts into the heaviness of the torte perfectly. This version of a balsamic vinaigrette is one of my favorites. I might make it my staple balsamic vinaigrette recipe.
If you have made pie crust before, this is a piece of cake to make. If you haven't, the most important thing when making pie crust is to keep the dough (mostly the butter in the dough) really cold. That is why the recipe says to use ice water and to keep putting the dough in the refrigerator. This is a great recipe for first-time pie crust makers, so give it a shot. I also recommend that you use a mandolin (1/16 inch setting) or food processor to slice the potatoes (for consistency), if you have one. I didn't because I was too lazy to get anything out.
Lastly, this would be a great brunch meal but worked for dinner too. It looks kind of dainty, but the photo is what I ate and I was completely satisfied after eating it for dinner. I was worried about Scot, but he had twice as much torte and probably 4 times as much salad and was also satisfied. I always avoid making meals like this for Scot because he needs a lot of carbs to fill him up, but this worked.
- 4 strips bacon
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 2 Pie Crusts, recipe follows
- 3 medium baking potatoes, peeled
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese
- 1 egg yolk, whisked with a splash of water
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
In a skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until just crispy. Drain on paper towel lined plate and set aside. Crumble the bacon when cool to the touch.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the thyme and cream over low heat to a bare simmer. Turn off the heat and let steep for about 5 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs.
Remove the pie pan from the refrigerator. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and then finely slice the potatoes. Working in circles, arrange the potato slices in the pie crust, stopping to season each layer with salt, pepper, and about 1/4 of the crumbled bacon. Continue layering until the pie pan is nearly full. Top with an even layer of the cheese and gently pour cream around and over the entire pie, allowing it to seep down between the potato slices. (You may not use all the cream.)
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. Bake the torte until the crust is browned and crispy and the potatoes are cooked through, about 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 cutting into wedges and serving.
- 1 cup butter (2 sticks), cubed and chilled
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 8 to 10 tablespoons ice water
Put the butter, flour, and salt in the food processor, and pulse lightly just until the mixture resembles wet sand. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing briefly after each spoonful of water. Keep adding water until the dough just begins to gather into larger clumps. Transfer equal amounts of the dough into 2 resealable plastic bags and pat each into a disk. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Remove 1 of the disks from the bag to a flour coated surface. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 10-inch round. Gently fit the rolled dough into a 9-inch pie pan, and refrigerate while you prepare the torte ingredients.
Yield: 2 (9-inch) pie crusts
- 1 garlic clove, sliced in 1/2
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Small splash soy sauce
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups mixed greens, the darker the better (not iceberg)
Rub the inside of a large wooden bowl with the garlic clove and then either discard it or save it for another use. Put the mustard in the bowl and whisk in the balsamic vinegar and soy sauce (a French secret!) vigorously for about 10 seconds to get a creamy consistency. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Drizzle in the olive oil as slowly as possible with 1 hand while whisking as quickly as possible with the other hand to emulsify. Lay the salad greens on top of the dressing and toss just before serving.
PS: Here is a pic of the entire torte. I didn't measure the cream and put a little too much in. It exploded over the sides, but that's fine. UPDATE: Actually, my genius friend pointed out the real reason it exploded...I forgot the steam holes!!!