Years ago, in one of my mother’s cookery books there was a recipe for mashed potatoes encased in puff pastry. It was very good but I thought creamy, garlicky layered potatoes –à la dauphinoise, if you like-would be even better. It is time consuming but if the potatoes are cooked the day before it is just a question of stamping out some pastry and brushing with beaten egg. These little pies work with all sorts of dishes from a game fricassée to roast beef. If you added some sliced mushrooms to the potatoes and make them slightly larger you could serve them as a vegetarian dish
- 700g potatoes-Maris Piper or Rooster, peeled
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 3 sprigs thyme, leaves only
- 200ml double cream
- 200ml whole milk
- 320g sheet all-butter puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- Heat the oven to 170˚c, fan oven 150˚c, mark 3. Thinly slice the potatoes on a mandolin in a food processor with the slicing blade. Butter an ovenproof dish (about 16 x 22cm) and arrange a layer of potatoes in the bottom. Dot with a little of the garlic and sprinkle over a few of the thyme leaves. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Top with another layer of potatoes and repeat with the garlic, thyme and seasoning. Continue until all the potatoes are layered.
- Mix together the cream and milk and pour over the potatoes. Cook in the oven for about 1 ½ -1 ¾ hours or until the potatoes are tender. If they brown too much cover the dish with foil. Leave to cool completely-or overnight. When thoroughly cold stamp out 4 rounds with a 6cm cookie cutter and place on a tray. I mix up the leftovers, sprinkle over some grated cheese and heat through for a family supper.
- Roll out the pastry to a rectangle about 38 x 28cm. Stamp out 4 rounds with a 9cm cookie cutter and place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking parchment. Place the potato rounds in the centre of each disc and brush the edges with the beaten egg. Stamp out 4 more rounds with a 10cm cookie cutter. Drape each pastry round over the potatoes and press down around the edges to seal tightly. Crimp the edges with your fingers or press down with a fork. Chill for 20 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 200˚c, fan oven 180˚c, mark 6. Brush the pastry pies with the beaten egg and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until puffed and golden brown.