I got the idea from watching The Next Food Network Star. The winner, Melissa d'Arabian, had her premiere show last weekend where she featured a "budget-friendly" Parisian-style dinner. Her show is called $10 Dollar Dinners, so it was her take on Parisian flavors, without all the cost...my kinda meal!!! I was drooling while I sat and watched the entire show...I knew I had to make this meal soon!
I have always enjoyed preparing meals for friends and family, and I figured this would be a great meal to entertain with. (I also have a close friend who is pregnant and having a hard time. I thought this would be a good dish to take her to help her feel better! But I will have to make another :o) I had to do a trial run to make sure it tasted good!) It passed with flying colors!
This torte was by far one of the best I have ever tasted! It was so creamy, and every bite packed a great amount of flavor. I didn't taste the thyme as much as I would have liked, so next time (that's cute get it thyme, time hehe) I think I will add even more sprigs to the cream. I may also sprinkle some inside the torte. I loved the bacon in it too. It added a great crunch and a nice saltiness. I used thick-cut bacon, which I think was a much better choice. Peppered bacon might also be good.
I must also mention that I didn't make the homemade crust...sadly I didn't have enough time, since I was preparing so many other things. So I took the short cut and bought the Pillsbury pre-made pie crust. The hubs looked at me in the store and said, "WHAT?!? You aren't really going to buy that are you? That stuff is gross!" I swear he said he wasn't going to eat it if I didn't make the crust from scratch, but he says otherwise! In the cart it went, and I promised him he wouldn't be disappointed! And...at the dinner table all he kept talking about was how good it was, and how flaky and tasty the crust was! Go figure! :o)
I love this next photo!
(adapted from Melissa d'Arabian)
6 strips of thick cut bacon
6 sprigs fresh thyme
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 Pie Crusts, recipe follows (I actually bought the Pillsbury pre-made/ready to go pie crust)
3-4 medium potatoes, peeled
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper (I used my garlic pepper and garlic salt grinders)
1/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese (Gruyere was a little too expensive for me so I substituted with a nice baby swiss ... it has a similar flavor and was just as tasty!)
1 egg yolk, whisked with a splash of water
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
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, but I did!)
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.
(Yields 2 (9-inch) pie crusts)
I hope you will give this a try, it was so easy and sooo yummy. I can't wait to share the rest of my Parisian meal with you!
Stay tuned for part two of my Parisian Dinner :o)
Thanks to Kristen Wiltse Photography for making my next several dishes look mind blowingly delicious! Check out her blog here.