I'm a big fan of foodie type shows like on the The Food Network, Bravo, & Travel channels. One of the shows that I frequently watched was The Next Food Network Star. I love getting inspired, learning techniques, and finding new short-cuts in the kitchen. My all-time fave winner is Guy Fieri, he's got spunk, style and charisma about him that you love. His show Triple D's is awesome, where he tours all around the states and finds great & tasty eats! This season 5 winner was underdog Melissa D'Arabian and she's a spunky SAHM (Stay-At-Home-Mom). I'll admit I was a big fan of Jeffrey Saad, and loved his idea of the "Spice Smuggler" series, but it was Melissa that captivated the judges. She'll do great because of the fan base that surrounds her, and I truly hope that The Food Network producers doesn't keep her limited in that $10 box - she has way more potential than they are letting her.
I was home sick the other day, and I was miserable from food poisoning. I guess my stomach was mad at me for "going out" to lunch vs. bringing something from home. I had to make something hearty and delicious, so I found this recipe because all the ingredients were in my pantry, and garden - so lucky me! I think I finally mastered using my mandoline slicer because I survived with no cuts! This recipe is very straightforward, and easy to make. I was unsure about the pie dough since it was my first attempt, but the dough was easy to make. Butter always makes everything better!
Congrats to Melissa on winning TNFS and to more easy recipes for us all! I paired this with my green apple & blue cheese salad (it's my new fave salad to make).
Adapted from Melissa D'Arabian
4 strips bacon
3 sprigs fresh thyme
2/3 cup heavy cream * I used half & half
2 Pie Crusts, recipe follows
3 medium baking potatoes, peeled
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese *Half cup
1 egg yolk, whisked with a splash of water *I used egg substitute instead*
*Additional* 1/4 green onions, sliced
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2.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.
3.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.
4.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. Add a layer of cheese & green onions. Continue layering until the pie pan is nearly full. Top with another 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.)
5. 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
1. 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.
Review: My husband came home and thought I bought a pie! It looked that good, and it tasted as great as it looked, too! I really loved the butter crust, and the potatoes and bacon went really well. I'll add this recipe to the dinner rotation and might even attempt to make apple pie with this crust. I love how universal this recipe can be, you can change the cheese, add different elements to the torte, and it can be unique to your tastebuds. I can't wait to make another one!