For the past few summers, Shane and I have made it a habit to watch The Next Food Network Star - a reality tv show on which contestants compete to win their own series on the Food Network. Reality tv is one of my guilty pleasures and when you add cooking into the mix, it just makes it even more enjoyable. When the show is over Shane and I generally keep our eyes peeled for the winner's new show and will watch at least a few episodes. Even though Shane's favorite (Jeffrey Saad) didn't win, he tuned in with me to watch the first episode of Melissa d'Arabian's show, 10 Dollar Dinners, a few weeks ago.
This potato-bacon torte was one of the dishes Melissa made on that first episode. This is total comfort food (and clearly not diet friendly) - potatoes, bacon, cream and flaky pie crust. The potatoes are layered with the bacon in the crust and then the thyme-infused cream is poured over the top before the top crust is applied. We both really enjoyed the torte though I think it'd be even better with onions (something I will try when Shane won't be sharing the torte, since he hates onions). The pie crust was one of the best ones I've ever had - incredibly flaky, delicious and not too fussy. It was also my first time ever having Gruyere cheese but it won't be my last. Yum, that's great cheese! I'll definitely make this torte again when the weather cools down - it's perfect warm comfort food for the winter!
from Melissa d'Arabian (via FoodNetwork.com)
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
(You want to start by making the pie crusts, as the dough needs to be chilled at least 30 minutes before it can be rolled out. See recipe and instructions below.)
Preheat the oven to 375 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.
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 addition. 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.