This is a simple food that can seem fancy. You can make the crust and filling a day in advance, which means this pie is convenient to assemble and bake for guests or yourself. In fact, the dough is easier to roll if you prepare it a day in advance and let it rest overnight in the fridge. The filling also thickens slightly and gets more flavorful as the ingredients sit overnight. Chop and add the parsley just before you fill the pies to keep it green and fresh. But don't worry if you suddenly want some of this pie and haven't made the dough and filling ahead. It can be prepped and baked a few hours later.
This can be a light meal, served with a salad in the middle of summer, or a more substantial addition to an egg dish served for brunch. It's also good cold and travels well if wrapped. One recipe tester said she became "obsessed" with this formula. Put this down as a wood-fired oven staple. The recipe was inspired by a recipe first published in a May/June 1998 issue of Saveur magazine.
Yield: 2 pies, each 10" diameter
Wood-fired oven temperature window: 350 degrees F to 400 degrees F (177 – 204 degrees C). This pie can also be baked in an oven while there's a live fire burning; you just have to be a little more careful that it doesn't take too on much color. Position the pie near the mouth of the oven, away from the fire, so the top crust doesn't get too dark or dried out. Turn the pie as needed to prevent uneven browning, and expect the bake time to be less depending on the intensity of the heat from the fire.
Home oven: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (191 degrees C).
2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/3 cup water
Yukon Gold potatoes, raw and unpeeled
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup Parmigiano or other hard cheese, grated
1/3 cup ricotta cheese
2 Tbsp. butter, softened
2 cups milk, whole
1 1/2 tsp. salt, to taste
1 tsp. pepper, to taste
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 cup parsley leaves, loosely packed
Method of Preparation:
1. Combine the flour and salt. Add the oil and water and mix until the dough comes together. Knead until smooth, about 5 minutes. Divide the dough in half and shape each piece into a ball, then flatten into a 6"-diameter disc and cover or wrap. Refrigerate for a minimum of 2 hours, but the dough will be easier to roll out if it rests overnight in the fridge.
1. Roast or boil the potatoes and let them cool. Caramelize the onion, or use some an onion roasted in its own skin. When the potatoes are cool, grate them completely into a bowl. (If you grate them while they're still hot, they will become gummy.) Add the onion, cheeses, butter, and milk to the potatoes; add salt and pepper, adjusting to taste. Mix until smooth. Add the egg and mix until incorporated.
2. Assembling and baking the pies: This dough is pretty extensible (especially if rested overnight). Roll each chilled disc of dough to an 18" diameter. Use hardly any flour on the bench: The oil in the dough helps make it non-stick, and it will be easier to work on a surface with just the lightest dusting of flour.
3. Place the dough on parchment paper or a well-floured, wooden oven peel. Chop the parsley and add to the potato filling.
4. Deposit half the filling in the center of the rolled-out dough and spread it to within several inches of the perimeter. Fold the edges of the dough over the filling toward the center, overlapping the dough in pleats. Leave a small hole at the center to allow steam to escape. Egg-wash and bake directly on the hearth for about 30 minutes.
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