The Welsh tatin pie
The Welsh Tatin pie is a great comforting dish combining potatoes with another crop, often overlooked: spring leek. It was inspired by the national emblem of Wales: the leek, which welsh soldiers wear proudly on their hats on St David’s Day in the memory of a legendary battle that saw their army win over the Saxons over a field of leeks. Originally, their ancestors would distinguish themselves from the enemy by wearing the vegetable on their helmet.
About potato pies
The potato pie is a common traditional dish often found in formerly poor regions of Europe. Among others, we can mention the Patatnik in Bulgaria, the Butter Pie in England, the Kugelis in Lithuania, or the Truffiat in France. Nevertheless, the potatoe is a relatively recent crop among European cuisines, as it was brought back from the American continent in the XIVth century, but considered proper for human consumption only 300 years later. It then took over the old continent in the same manner settlers had taken over Northern America: by supplanting the use of local crops thanks to its “efficiency”. Potatoes became a staple of Europeans foods, accompanied by the deforestation of chestnut trees forests poor populations were relying on in times of starvation. Soon after, the Irish Great Famine shone a light on the limits of the “single crop” solution as a way to provide food for populations. All around us and in every aspect of our food system, diversity was shown again to be the key to resilience.
The Welsh tatin pie recipe
750g of waxy potatoes
2 medium sized tender leeks
250g of crème fraiche (or equivalent)
A bunch of parsley
A lot of olive oil
Salt & pepper
2 Pre-made or home-made shortcrust pastries
- Cut (half a cm) and boil the potatoes for 10′, drain and run them under cold water.
- Mix the crème fraiche with chopped parsley, salt and pepper.
- Butter the mold and line the sides of the tin with pastry.
- Cut the leeks in clean 4cm long sections all the way to the green. Arrange the leek properly inside the tin and cover with the cream.
- Arrange the potatoes and spread generously with oil before covering the top with a round piece of flat pastry. Seal the sides.
- Once you have built the potato pie, bake it for 40′ at 180°C.
- Let the pie cool down before unmolding it on a flat plate: run knife along the sides of the pie, put a plate on top and turn the pie over. Tap the sides and lift the tin to unveil the Welsh tatin pie.
- Let’s not forget that those famines were that disastrous only for political reasons involving the religious conflit between Ireland & England that led to England indifference towards Irish people.
- Home-made shortcrust pastry: 1) In a wide bowl, break 125g of cold butter cut in small pieces with the tip of your fingers with 250g of flour (wheat or equivalent), until you obtain a coarse powder. 2) Make a well and add 4 pinches of salt, 1 egg yolk and 1/2 eggshell of water. 3) Mix gently until combined and shape a ball of dough that you will rest in the fridge before rolling it flat.