To complete the dish
- In a large frypan, heat the butter over low heat until melted. Add the leeks and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are very soft, but not browned (about 10 mins). If the pan becomes dry, add a little water, then cover the leeks with baking paper and the pan lid to complete the cooking. Two minutes before the leeks are ready, add the fresh thyme and stir it into the mixture.
- Remove the pan from the heat, season well with salt and pepper and set aside to cool completely.
- Once the leek mixture has cooled completely, add the crème fraîche and stir in until it evenly coats the leek mixture.
- Unroll the pastry sheet. Using a 26cm round plate as a template, cut a circle. Line a deep 22cm fluted pie tin with the pastry circle, gently pushing the pastry into base and sides of the tin. Trim the edges then place into the freezer to chill for 20 minutes.
- Position your oven baking rack in the lowest oven rack, and while the oven is still cold, place a pizza stone on top (see tips at the end of this recipe).
- Preheat oven to 210°C fan-forced (230°C conventional) using the bottom heat function (if you have it).
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into fine slices (a mandolin is best for creating fine, even slices for the least effort!). As you cut the potatoes, place the slices into a large bowl of cold water. Once all the potatoes are peeled and sliced, drain, and dry them well using paper towel or clean kitchen towels.
- Remove the pastry from the freezer, then add a layer of potato (slightly overlapping at the edges) on top of the pastry and cover them with a layer of the leek mixture. Sprinkle a handful of the gruyere cheese over the top, then repeat with another layer of potato, leek, and cheese. Continue repeating the layers until you reach the top of the pie tin, finishing off with a layer of potato and leek, reserving ⅓ cup of Gruyere cheese for later in the recipe.
- Place the pie into the bottom of your oven and bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, turn the oven temperature down to 180°C fan-forced (200°C conventional) and remove the pie from the oven.
- Once the pie is removed, pour the warmed thickened cream over the top, allowing it to distribute through the layers of the pie (you can warm the cream in the microwave in short 15-second bursts). If you feel the cream isn’t distributing properly, you can fix this by cutting slits through the layers of potato and pouring the cream in through there.
- Top the pie with the reserved Gruyere cheese, then place the pie back into the oven and cook for a further 25 minutes, or until a knife slides through the potato layers easily. If the top starts to brown too much, cover it with tented foil for the remaining cooking time.
- Once cooked, remove the pie from the oven and set aside to cool for 15 minutes (to allow the potatoes to set). Once cooled, remove the pie from the baking tin and serve warm or cold with a side salad.
We recommend cooking your pie in an oven with a pizza stone to ensure the base of the pastry cooks perfectly. If you don’t have a pizza stone (they’re not expensive and can be bought from kitchen supply stores and Bunnings), we recommend blind baking your pastry prior to adding the filling.
ALWAYS heat your pizza stone up in a cold oven – it will crack if you place it into the oven once it’s heated.
You can warm your cream in the microwave in short, 15-second bursts to make it easier to pour.
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