I made this potato pancake ‘pie’ because I had a problem in my pantry and needed an immediate solution: I had a large number of potatoes had no business sitting around my kitchen anymore and bits and pieces of cheeses, herbs, and vegetables. I try hard not to waste, so my solution evolved into this recipe.
Whether you have too many potatoes on your hands, or you simply want to step outside the bounds of the typical egg-rich quiche, the fillings can be very versatile and thus adaptable to your needs. It’s a familiar, homey dish while still putting something new and exciting on your dining room table (or the coffee table, if you eat sitting on the floor or couch as we do – that’s what happens while living in a small apartment!).
Please feel free to adapt this to your needs or desires. By following the directions, you’ll still find your way. I added components such as raw onions into the filling, but I lightly sauteed the leeks so that they were not so stiff. I recommend doing the same with a vegetable such as mushrooms if you choose to add them, but maybe that’s my own preference talking. This recipe was made without meat, but there are also suggestions under ‘ingredients’ for adding more savory ingredients. I hope you enjoy!
When listing the ingredients, I will list what I used and also further recommendations and/or substitutions.
* = I used this ingredient. Anything else listed is a suggestion to help you navigate the contents of your pantry.
Potato pancake crust pie with a filling of ricotta and greens
Potato Pancake Crust
- 4-6 Russet Potatoes (or similar) Number depends on size
- Flour AP or 00
- 1-2 Eggs Depending on number of potatoes
- Recommended Seasonings: Salt, Black Pepper, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Paprika, Chervil
- ~200-300 g Recommended: Ricotta
- ~175-250 g Recommended: Plain Cream Cheese
- Cheddar, *Mozzarella, Parmigiano Reggiano (or the likes); I recommend cheeses that come in blocks that you can grate by hand, or use pre-grated cheese if that’s what you prefer. Anything that will melt or result in a bit of stringiness is good. You neither want a hard cheese that won’t melt nor a cheese that’s too pungent in flavor (i.e. a strong swiss). Something that is rather mild or has a slightly salty flavor works better.
- 1-2 Eggs Omit if you cannot use eggs – although they serve as a good binder, I did not find them overly necessary due to the use of the ricotta.
- Suggested vegetables and greenery: (* – what I used) *Leeks (lightly sauteed in butter beforehand), *Yellow or red onion, *Ramps/Ramsons (sliced into little ribbons), *Scallions, Celery, Spinach, Mushrooms, Radishes, Thyme, Parsley, *Chervil, or any other herbs you have
- Additional: Chopped bacon, pancetta, ham to mix or add as a topping
To serve with, optional: sour cream
- Preheat the oven to 200C (this is as high as my oven will go – I am really sorry that I cannot be more precise on temperatures).
- Leave potatoes unpeeled, or peel if you prefer. Grate the potatoes on top of a clean, medium to large size dishcloth. Wrap and squeeze the grated potatoes so that the juice seeps out of the cloth. Squeeze until you can’t any longer and you feel that most of the juices are gone. Place the contents into a large bowl.
- Add the seasonings, eggs, and flour (I also added a few teaspoons of cornstarch, which you can do if you like). A few big pinches of each ingredient, more or less depending on preference for taste, does the trick. Add the flour by the heaping spoonful – not too much to begin with. Stir in flour until the contents thicken and can be molded into shape. It should not be pasty, but just dense enough.
- To make the filling, combine the ricotta, cream cheese, remaining cheeses, eggs, greens, herbs, & vegetables. You can leave plain, or lightly season with salt and pepper. I chose to keep mine unseasoned.
- Using a cake mold, a springform, or pie tin, grease the container or line with baking paper. Pour in the potatoes. With your fingers, a spatula or the back of a spoon, shape the grated potatoes into a crust, molding it up the sides of the form and pressing it firmly all around. It’s likely that there will be some liquids that will still seep out, so place the container in the fridge. After about 10 minutes, take the form out of the fridge and pat dry. I did this twice until it remained dry. If no liquids seeped through the first time around, you’re good to go. This is important to do so that the contents do not steam.
- Move the crust to the oven. Check after about 5 minutes whether the crust is firm to the touch. The crust should not be turning color – you just want it firmed.
- Remove the crust from the oven and pour in the filling, making sure it’s leveled. You can choose to top with a few extra sprinkles of cheese, onion, or greens, or leave it as is. Personally, I will choose to sprinkle with extra cheddar the next time.
- Cover the crust with aluminum foil and bake until the middle sets and the tops start to become golden brown. Then remove the foil from the crust and bake until a preferred golden.
- Remove, let set, and slice to serve. Optional, to serve with sour cream.