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Cook this: Tartiflette pies from The Pastry School


Our cookbook of the week is The Pastry School by Julie Jones. Over the next three days, we’ll feature more recipes from the book and an interview with the author.

If you find the prospect of making pastry daunting, Julie Jones ’s hot water version makes an excellent starting point. You don’t need a stand mixer or any other specialized equipment. A bowl, wooden spoon and rolling pin will do the trick.

“I love hot water pastry. I tend to use it in a way that’s not really traditional to how it’s used here (in the U.K.). It’s most traditionally used to encase really dense, meat picnic pies,” says Jones. “But I think it’s a great pastry and it turns such a beautiful golden colour. It’s a nice one to work décor with as well, because you can really mould it into shape.”

Using a combination of lard and butter gives the pastry a crisp texture and distinct flavour. But if you’d prefer to omit the lard, or are vegetarian, simply substitute it with more butter, Jones recommends.

Here, she wraps creamy, cheesy potatoes and lardons in hot water pastry for a variation on tartiflette, an alpine dish from the Savoy region of France. “I love a double carb meal,” says Jones, laughing. “Potatoes and pastry. Proper comfort, belly-warming stuff.”

In The Pastry School , Jones offers several pastry options for each of her recipes. You can just as successfully make these tartiflette pies with her sheet pastry. And for a creative, more experimental bake, try her gluten-free, salted shortcrust or viennoiserie pastries (recipes are in the book).

TARTIFLETTE PIES

This recipe can be successfully made into one larger pie if you prefer.

1 quantity of Hot Water pastry (recipe follows)
All-purpose flour, for dusting
Egg wash (see note)

For the filling:
500 g (18 oz) waxy salad potatoes, sliced to 8 mm (3/8 in) thick
Fine salt, for the cooking water
1 tbsp olive oil
200 g (7oz) smoked pancetta lardons
20 g (1 tbsp) unsalted butter
200 g (7 oz) sweet red onions, finely sliced
1 large garlic clove, finely sliced
1 tbsp thyme leaves
Maldon salt and black pepper
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
200 mL (3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp) whipping cream
100 mL (1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp) milk
40 g (1 1/2 oz) Reblochon cheese, rind removed

Step 1

Make the pastry following the recipe, continuing up to and including the fridge resting. It may be beneficial to grease and flour your pie moulds, even if they are non-stick — just in case.

Step 2

Cook the sliced potatoes in a pan of well-seasoned boiling water for 4 minutes. Drain and keep to one side. Heat a large frying pan, add the olive oil and pancetta and fry until the fat has softened and the meat is golden. Remove from the pan using a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Into the same pan, add the butter along with the onions, garlic, thyme, a sprinkling of salt and a grinding of black pepper. Slowly fry over a gentle heat until soft and golden, stirring occasionally. Add the flour and cook for another minute, stirring. Finally, add the cream and milk and simmer for 2 minutes to make a thick sauce.

Step 3

Add the potatoes and pancetta, mix well, check the seasoning and adjust if needed. Allow the mixture to cool completely. Roll the pastry onto a lightly floured work surface to approximately 3 mm (1/8 in) depth. Cut 16 pieces from the pastry — eight for the bases and eight for the lids (shape depending on the tins being used) — then cut eight strips for the pie walls. Again, the measurements depend on the tins being used. Return to the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Step 4

Remove the pastry from the fridge and lay one oval into the base of each tin, pushing the pastry tightly into the sides. Brush the outer edges with egg wash and then use one cut strip per pie to make the pie wall, adhering the sides to the base, pushing down well to seal. Now push the pastry into the sides of the tin and secure the ends of each strip by overlapping each, using egg wash as a glue. As an extra leakproof precaution, I like to roll a thin strip of pastry to use to push into all the seams. Simply adhere the thinly rolled pastry filler with more egg wash and push into place well using a floured finger. Repeat for the remaining ovals. Place back in the fridge, along with the remaining 8 ovals (lids), for at least 30 minutes. Reserve the remaining egg wash for later.

Step 5

Half-fill the pie shells with the potato mixture, then add small pieces of cheese (surprisingly, 5 g (1/4 oz) is enough for each pie), top with more potato, filling almost but not quite to the top of each tin. Brush the very tops of the pie sides with egg wash and secure a pastry lid to each, pressing down well to seal. Add some extra pastry garnishes if you want to, securing each addition in place with egg wash. When done, brush each pie top evenly with egg wash and add an inconspicuous steam hole using a skewer or similar. Put the pies in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Step 6

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas Mark 4. Bake the pies in the oven (if using individual tins, place onto a baking sheet) for 40 minutes before carefully removing the pies from their tins. Egg wash the sides then return to the oven for a further 5 minutes, until beautifully golden and crisp. When fully baked, remove from the oven and rest upon a wire rack until just warm — the optimum temperature at which to enjoy these pies.

Makes: 8 small oval pies, using specialist tins measuring 5.5 x 10 x 4 cm (2 1/4 x 4 in x 1 1/2 in)

Note: Make an egg wash by mixing an egg yolk with a few drops of boiling water and use this to glaze the pastry case, making sure to brush both pastry base and sides. Not all of the egg wash will be needed.

HOT WATER PASTRY

450 g (Scant 3 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting
1 1/2 tsp fine salt
1 egg
175 mL (3/4 cup) cold water
100 g (1/2 cup minus 1 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm (1/2 in) cubes, no need to be precise
75 g (1/3 cup) lard, cut into 1 cm (1/2 in) cubes, no need to be precise (see note)

Step 1

Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and briefly mix to combine. Make a well in the centre of the flour, crack in the egg and mix through with a fork. Gently heat the water, butter and lard in a small saucepan until the fats have melted. Increase the heat and allow the water to boil for 20 seconds or so, then remove from the heat.

Step 2

Using a slow yet steady stream, pour the liquid into the flour, mixing with a spatula or wooden spoon to form a thick paste. Give the paste a quick but vigorous mix, then cover the bowl with a damp cloth and leave to rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

Step 3

Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead with your hands for about 30 seconds, until the dough looks smoother, paler and more pastry like. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes, preferably no longer than 1 hour.

Step 4

Roll out onto a lightly floured surface to a depth of 3–5 mm (1/8–1/4 in), depending on what you are using it for and use according to the relevant recipe instructions.

Makes: 1 quantity

Note: For a vegetarian option, omit the lard and use just 175 g (3/4 cup) butter instead.

Excerpted from The Pastry School by Julie Jones. Text copyright 2020 © Julie Jones. First published in Great Britain in 2020 by Kyle Books, an imprint of Kyle Cathie Ltd. Reproduced by arrangement with the publisher. All rights reserved.

Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020

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