Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Aardappel Taart (Belgian Potato Tart), WCFC 2014: Belgium

Despite a valiant effort from Algeria last night they succumbed to the mighty Germans! That leaves Belgium as my final team in the World Cup Food Challenge 2014.  They play the USA tonight and are strongly fancied to win so I might have to get researching pretty quickly after this Potato Tart recipe. (The USA have been really impressive though so who knows!)

I absolutely love potato dishes especially ones with large quantities of fat!  Potatoes and fat were meant to be together whether in a dauphinoise, a chip, mashed potato, the magnificent roasty or in this potato tart recipe.

When I read about this dish I knew straight away that I needed to make it!  Pastry, potatoes, leeks and ham mixed with double cream pretty much ticks all of the comfort food boxes!  I discovered a recipe from the Hairy Bikers which looked great but I wanted to be more confident of the authenticity of the recipe so I went searching again.  I discovered this site which seems to be a collection of family recipes from a range of contributors on the cuisine of Belgium.  It was slightly different to the other recipes I had found in that it had a pastry lattice on the top which sounded more appealing, the more pastry the better!

So the recipe below is pretty much the recipe as written by Peg Coucke and posted to the above site, with a few alterations along the way.  One of the major changes was that I couldn't find any decent quality smoked ham so I have substituted it for smoked pancetta. I'd encourage you take a look at the site as it has a good range of dishes from a variety of contributors and I can assure you that this recipe is a winner!

Aardappel Taart


20g Butter
100g Smoked Pancetta or Smoked Ham, cubed
1 Leek, chopped
400g Potatoes, peeled and diced
150ml Double Cream
Whole Nutmeg for grating

For the pastry:

1 batch of Soured Cream Pastry


1.  Preheat oven to 180C.  Roll out pastry and line a loose-bottomed flan tin, making sure the pastry is pressed right into the edges.  Place in fridge.  Cut the excess pastry into strips to be used for the lattice, chill.
2.  Melt the butter in a pan and fry the pancetta until golden.  Add the leeks and fry until soft.
3.  Stir in the potatoes and fry for a further 6-8 minutes.  Season with salt, black pepper and nutmeg.
4.  Remove lined tin from the fridge and add the pancetta, leek and potato mixture, spreading out evenly.  Pour over the double cream until just below the top of the tin and add a final grating of nutmeg.
5.  Gently lay over strips of shortcrust pastry in a lattice pattern.  Brush the lattice with beaten egg yolk and  bake on a preheated baking tray for 50 mins-1 hour at 170C until the pastry is golden brown and the potatoes are cooked.  (You can check the potatoes with a skewer.)

This dish is often a side dish in Belgium and is traditionally served with sausage. However, I think it is good enough to be the main attraction especially when accompanied by your favourite Belgian lager!  This is yet another big hitter in the calorie stakes so I am well on my way to my Gambrinus physique!  I might have give the Gaufres a miss if Belgium do beat the USA so I can still fit into my suit!  Cheers,


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