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As the '90s dawned, darling chefs were pushing the boundaries of cooking in this country. A young Christine Manfield, just starting out at this heady time, soon became part of the generation that redefined modern Australian cuisine. She shares some of her timeless signatures from the era.

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Herbed potato and crème fraîche tourte


You'll need

20 gm butter 8 golden shallots, thinly sliced 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped 1 tbsp thyme 400 gm crème fraîche 1 tbsp each finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, chives and tarragon ¼ tsp finely grated nutmeg 1.2 kg Dutch cream potatoes, thinly sliced on a mandolin For brushing: eggwash   Rough puff pastry 300 gm (2 cups) plain flour 300 gm cold butter, coarsely chopped

Method

  • 01
  • For rough puff pastry, combine flour and ½ tsp fine salt in a food processor, pulse to combine. Add butter, pulse until small lumps are dispersed throughout mixture, then turn onto a work surface and make a well in the centre. Add 120ml iced water and combine with a pastry scraper. Bring pastry together with the heel of your hand, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (30 minutes). Roll out on a lightly floured surface to a rough 15cm x 40cm rectangle. Fold short ends into centre, fold in half to form a book fold, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest (30-40 minutes). Repeat twice more, then refrigerate to rest for at least 30 minutes before using.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 160C. Heat butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming, add shallot, garlic and thyme and stir occasionally until tender and fragrant (4-5 minutes), set aside to cool.
  • 03
  • Combine crème fraîche, herbs and nutmeg in a bowl, season to taste and set aside.
  • 04
  • Roll out one-third of the pastry to a 19cm x 29cm rectangle, place on a tray and refrigerate until required. Roll out remaining pastry to 28cm x 38cm rectangle, line a 20cm x 30cm x 3cm-deep tin, letting pastry overhang sides. Arrange one-third of potato slices over pastry, seasoning generously as you go, spread with half the crème fraîche mixture, then scatter over half the shallot mixture. Repeat layering, finishing with a layer of potato. Place reserved pastry on top, then brush with eggwash and fold in edges. Brush edges with eggwash, then slash in several places with a small knife. Bake until pastry is golden and potato is tender (1-1½ hours; cover with foil if pastry browns too quickly). Serve hot.

This tourte, or pie, originates from the Auvergne region. Most traditional recipes call for the crème fraîche to be poured into a hole in the top of the tourte in the last minutes of cooking, but we've found spreading it between the layers of potatoes produces a more even result. You could use shop-bought puff pastry if you're short of time.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Drink Suggestion

A crisp, floral sauvignon blanc such as a Sancerre.

Featured in

Jul 2011

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