The main concept behind this dish is how simple it is to make. Forget fiddling about with pastry cases, having to blind bake them and hoping the bottom doesn’t come out soggy. The filling here is encased in a potato crust, which makes is a lot easier to prepare (all you need is a piping bag – but you could also spoon it in the tin) which is then enriched with cheese and herbs, to make it tastier. I have used ham and spinach for the filling, but really any other fillings would do as well. Try chicken, tuna, crab, wilted salad leaves and you will get a very tasty yet easy dish every single time.
Also, I used a 20cm springform tin as I currently do not have a standard cake pan (heaven forbid, I know), but as long as you grease the sides any cake tin would do, even a standard sandwich one.
- 800g baking potatoes
- 600g spinach
- 2 egg yolks
- 200g smoked cheese. grated
- 150g sliced ham
- 1 tbsp butter
- 70g freshly grated Parmesan
- 4 tbsp breadcrumbs
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
- pinch of nutmeg
- 1 sprig of rosemary, leaves only, finely chopped
- Peel and quarter the potatoes, then boil them for about 15 minutes in plenty of salty water. When they are cooked, drain them, then tip them back into the pan and add the butter, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool.
- In the meantime, drizzle some olive oil in a frying pan and cook the spinach over a medium heat until wilted (about 10 minutes). Transfer to a sieve and leave to drain from the excess water.
- When the potato mash has cooled, add the Parmesan cheese, the breadcrumbs, rosemary and the egg yolks, then mix well to combine. Spoon it in a piping bag and simply snip off the end of it (no need for nozzles).
- Now start layering your tart. Begin with the potato mixture. Pipe it in concentric circles on the bottom of the tin, starting with the outer one. Slowly make your way to the centre of the tin. Once you have covered the bottom, start building up the sides by piping more outer circles. Use all of the potato mash you have, this should be just enough to create a potato case for the pie.
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Tip half of the spinach onto the bottom of the tart and spread them around, then cover with half of the cheese and half of the ham. Repeat a layer of spinach, but this time top it with the ham and then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
- Bake for about 40 minutes, until the top turns golden and the potato case creates a crust on the top.
- Remove from the oven, unmould and leave to cool down for about 10 minutes before slicing.