2 August 2015
1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees, 180 degrees fan oven. Grease a 20cm loose-bottomed deep round tin then line with baking parchment.
2. To make the pastry, sift the plain flour into a large cold bowl, add the wholemeal flour and a pinch of salt, add the butter cut into small pieces, then rub quickly and lightly together with your fingers until it resembles breadcrumbs. Make a well in the middle and add the very cold water a little at a time, stirring with a knife. Bring it all together into a dough, roll out on a lightly floured surface and use to line the prepared tin. Allow to rest in the fridge for 15-20 minutes, then blind bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Take the tin out of the oven after 10 minutes and turn the oven up to 220 degrees, 200 degrees fan oven.
3. Meanwhile, prepare the potatoes. If, like me, you like your potatoes in a pie to be peeled, peel or scrape the potatoes. If you prefer to keep the skin on, just wash them. Cut any larger potatoes in half so that they are all a similar size. Cook the potatoes in boiling lightly salted water for 10-15 minutes, until just tender. Drain, allow to cool then cut into bite sized chunks.
4. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Remove the outer layer from the leek, wash thoroughly and cut into pieces. Heat the sunflower oil over a low heat in a large deep frying pan, then sauté the onion for 5 minutes to soften it. Add the chopped leek and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add a large knob of butter, stir in the crushed garlic and cook for a minute or two. Chop the leaves of the fresh parsley and thyme and sprinkle into the pan, add the chopped potatoes, gently stir everything together and heat the potatoes through.
5. Beat the eggs in a small bowl, add the crème fraiche and mix together. Add this to the potato mixture, then grate in 150g of the cheese and stir. Season well with salt and black pepper, and add a sprinkling of cayenne pepper or paprika if you wish. Spoon the mixture into the prepared pastry crust, pushing it right to the sides and heaping it up to fill the pastry case. Roughly grate the remaining 100g of cheese and scatter it thickly on the top, then bake for about 25 minutes, or until the pastry is cooked and the cheese on the top is golden and bubbling.
6. Allow the pie to cool for 10 minutes when it leaves the oven, then use an upturned bowl to push up the pie out of the tin. Carefully peel off the baking parchment and serve immediately if you are eating it warm.
- Some versions include chunks of apple in the ingredients, although this is not traditional.
- You could reduce the amount of potato if you wish, and replace some of it with other root vegetables such as parsnips, carrots or sweet potato.
- Try making a different topping; turn a thick slice of day old bread into breadcrumbs and mix it with the grated cheese for a crispy top.
This recipe makes enough for 6-8 people.