Wednesday, February 24, 2010

FNCCC #24 - Mary Nolan, Masaharu Morimoto , Melissa d'Arabian

This week we had a choice of three different chefs, Mary Nolan, Masaharu Morimoto , Melissa d'Arabian; All very different. I picked Melissa d'Arabian's Potato-Bacon Torte. It had over 700 comments and still had 5 stars, which intrigued me. You rarely see that. I give it 5 stars as well. It was so good. The leftovers were even better. It had a beautiful presentation. You could even make this the day before.

I made it for dinner but it would be great for a guest brunch. The herb infused cream really made the dish pop with flavor. Play around with the cheeses. Use ham or chirizo instead of bacon. Mix some chipotle in with the cream for a bit of a kick. Go wild :)

Potato-Bacon Torte
Recipe courtesy Melissa d'Arabian

4 strips bacon (I used double)
3 sprigs fresh thyme (I used rosemary)
2/3 cup heavy cream (I used half and half)
2 Pie Crusts, recipe follows (pre made, gasp :)
3 medium baking potatoes, peeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese (I used fontina)
1 egg yolk, whisked with a splash of water (just do it, it makes for a beautiful looking pie!)

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. (This step makes a wonderful infused cream. I couldn't believe how nicely it flavored the torte)

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.

Pie Crust (I cannot attest to the pie crust, I cheated and used pre made crusts):
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

I can't wait to see what chef you chose to cook! Link up with MckLinky below.


  1. that does look like it would be wonderful for a brunch!

  2. Oh wow that looks delicious!! I also noticed Melissa had tons of reviews more so than almost every other chef, wonder why.

  3. I love that crust! I use it for my Freezer Apple Pie. And that Potato Torte is so good! Yum!

  4. Oops, lost track of days and was going to cook my recipe tonight. But, on the good news I did get next week's recipe done....
    This weeks recipe sounds like my husband would love it in a few months when he can have starches again.....

  5. that looks so delicious! potatos and bacon....mmmmm!