In February 1979, Paula Wolfert penned an article about great Alsatian chefs cooking their mothers’ food. Included was André Soltner, then the chef at the legendary Lutèce in Manhattan. Soltner opted to recreate his mother’s outstanding potato pie, which Wolfert said was “a simple thing, yet elegant.” It consisted of a flaky pâte brisée filled with thinly sliced potatoes, bacon, hard-cooked eggs, herbs, and crème fraîche. Wolfert noted how strongly Soltner felt while preparing the tart, with “pleasure and nostalgia plainly visible on his face.” The secret to the flaky pâte brisée is the single turn made with the dough in step 2. This is home cooking at its best, from one of America’s most revered French chefs. Soltner described the food of his native alsace as based on ”very good dry white wines and wonderful regional produce.” This pie makes a simple, elegant, and satisfying weekend lunch paired with a chilled bottle of alsace wine and a green salad. In a pinch, use a store-bought pie crust.
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 7 1/2 ounces), plus more for dusting
- 9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 2 large egg yolks, divided
- Ice water
- 1 1/4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 5 ounces thick-cut mild-smoked bacon slices, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
- 3 large or 4 small hard-cooked eggs, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon water
- Step 1
Stir together flour, butter, and 3/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Using your fingertips, rub butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal. Make a well in center. Stir together 1 egg yolk with enough ice water to equal 1/4 cup; pour into well, and stir into flour mixture until just moistened. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough just until it comes together. Divide dough into 2 disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap, and chill at least 8 hours or overnight.
- Step 2
Preheat oven to 400°F. Unwrap 1 dough disk, and roll into a 13-inch round on a lightly floured surface; fit into a 9-inch pie pan. Chill 10 minutes.
- Step 3
Meanwhile, soak potato slices in ice water to cover (to remove surface starch) about 5 minutes; drain and pat slices dry. Toss potatoes with parsley, pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Place bacon in a large skillet, and cook over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until wilted and just browned on edges, about 2 minutes. Drain bacon on paper towels.
- Step 4
Arrange half of potato slices in refrigerated pie shell, overlapping slices. Sprinkle evenly with bacon; top with remaining potato slices, overlapping slices. Spread crème fraîche over potatoes, and arrange egg slices on top. Unwrap remaining dough disk, and roll into a 10-inch round on a lightly floured surface. Place round on top of pie. Trim edges and fold dough under. Crimp edge as desired. Using the tip of a knife, prick top of pie twice.
- Step 5
Stir together 1 teaspoon water and remaining egg yolk; brush over top of pie. Bake pie in preheated oven on middle rack 20 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 350°F, and bake 50 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 300°F, and bake until top is golden brown, about 10 minutes.
- Step 6
Let pie rest 10 minutes before serving.