Sunday, February 07, 2010

January 30-31, 2010: Potato-crusted silverbeet pie

When my enthusiasm for silverbeet was waning, you guys got me sorted. I was so pleased with the meal ideas you left on that post that I was actually counting down the days until the next silverbeet delivery! During those chard-less days I received another recipe suggestion via email, from Michael's mum Robyn. Well, folks, she's my mother-in-law, so I figured I'd better give it a shot. Ha! Actually, it looked like a good one - a quiche-style dish with a pastry made mostly of mashed potatoes.

Now, a mashed potato 'pastry' is usually the kind of thing that would have me suspicious. Shortcrust pastry is almost sacred to me. But Michael and I had this dish we used to make pre-blog, with a grated potato crust and broccoli-quiche-kinda filling, so I knew this had promise. I just didn't read the recipe closely enough before we started. Michael set to boiling and mashing the potatoes a little late in the evening and it was only then that I noticed the 30 minutes required to rest the pastry, the 40-50 minutes to bake the pie and the subsequent 20 minutes that the finished pie allegedly needed to rest. (I knew it'd take a while to bake but, really, did it need all that lazing around?) So Michael made the potato dough, popped it in the fridge and we got dinner delivered.

This was a good decision. Our delivered dinner was marvellous, and the pie prep got even more involved than the recipe predicted. The potato pastry was mushy and challenging to mould, even when I tripled the flour quantity, and the pie just would. not. set. It spent at least an hour and a half in the oven all up, and got its post-oven nap twice over - still the crusty walls buckled when I loosened the springform pan, with cracks oozing mashed potato and threatening to unleash an eggy avalanche. Dinner was messy but tasty, and lunch was better - a night in the fridge firmed everything up nicely and it even withstood a solid microwave heat-up at work.

Naturally, that picture you see up top is the well-behaved post-fridge version of this pie. I've since had a chance to consult Robyn on our approach and not come up with any glaring mistakes. She thinks we could potentially up the flour quantity even further, while I'm plotting a pastry pre-bake to firm those potatoes right up. In the recipe below I'll record what we did (with a couple of asides) and, if we do something better next time, you'll be the first to know. It's the least I can do for you crazy silverbeet lovers.

Potato-crusted silverbeet pie
(based on a recipe from Michael's mum, Robyn)

4 large potatoes
20g butter
3/4 cup plain flour
3 eggs
300mL cream
1/2 cup grated tasty cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
6-8 cups chopped silverbeet, stems included
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste

Peel and chop the potatoes, then cook them in boiling water until tender (about 15 minutes). Drain the potatoes and mash them thoroughly (you don't want lumps!). Add the butter and flour and stir everything together until it's firm enough to form a ball (you may want to add more flour). Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes (we left ours for a full day).

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll the dough out between two pieces of greaseproof paper, large enough to fit a springform tin (if you don't have one, I'm sure you can use a pie or casserole dish or cake tin). Remove the top sheet of paper, then ease the bottom sheet and the pastry into the tin and gently shape it to form a crust. Although I did not do this, I would suggest pre-baking this crust until lightly golden - maybe 10, 15 minutes?

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream, then stir in the cheeses, silverbeet and nutmeg. Season it as you like and pour the mixture into the potato crust. Bake the pie until it's set - this will probably take an hour and possibly longer. Allow the pie to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before slicing and serving.


  1. oh this looks great - I have cream that needs using up - and after my potato pizza crust I am up for a crust of potato and flour - I wonder if it makes a difference what sort of potatoes you use

  2. I reckon it would defo make a difference if you used waxy potatoes or little kipflers or something - they don't seem to go as watery when you boil them? Or you could try baking the potatoes???

    It does look good though. Now I am thinking when we get silverbeet next of just doing some simple potato / silverbeet frittata type thing?

    Are you guys getting a massive lettuce every week now? I really can't think of much to do with that!!

  3. A potato dough. I never thought. Will have to give this a shot.

  4. Johanna, I know you've a solid history of using potato in baked goods so I imagine this will suit you well. :-)

    Penny - good point! I've noticed waxy potatoes doing brilliantly in pancake/fritter/latke-type situations so they'd probably fare better than the floury ones we used here. I've no great lettuce suggestions to repay you with, I'm sorry - we've just been using ours as salad (and with burgers, in sandwiches, etc).

    Penny/Jeroxie - if you do try it, go the waxy potatoes! :-)