The Daily Spud

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Spud Sunday: Defender Of The Spud

To borrow a phrase from the original super brat himself, you cannot be serious.

That was my response (and then some) to an invitation to participate in a so-called “un-potato fest”, which asks participant bloggers to spread, in a jocular fashion, the myth that potatoes are boring, in order to promote a box of (wait for it) instant stuffing mix.

I mean really, who in their right mind would ask me, of all people, to promote the supposed ability of an instant stuffing mix to heroically save us, every one, from the apparent mundanity of all things spud. A mix which, according to this post, contains, among many other things, high fructose corn syrup, MSG and a whole whack of salt. Charming.

Some, I know, will take up the call, and that’s their prerogative, of course. As for me, I’ll choose potatoes over a box of stuffing any day (but I rather suspect you knew that already). Spuds are truly versatile and sometimes even surprising beasts, as, I think, this potato bakewell tart will demonstrate.

Potato bakewell

Potato Bakewell Tart

Potato bakewell

As with the use of mashed potato in other baked goods, the addition of potato here brings some additional moistness to the tart’s filling.

The idea for this originated with an old English recipe for potato “cheesecake” , which consists of pastry shells filled with a mixture of mashed potato, butter, sugar and nary a bit of cheese. To be honest, the original recipe really left quite a lot to be desired, so I added some egg and flour for structure and ground almonds for texture and flavour, resulting in a filling that was quite frangipane-like. From there, it seemed only natural to add a layer of jam, to make a kind of potato bakewell tart.

Do use a floury potato for the mash and have the cooked potatoes as dry as possible before mashing, as soggy mash will translate to a wetter filling. As the filling is quite moist and dense as it is, I find it works best spread in a fairly thin layer, so shallow baking tins are recommended.

For the filling:

  • 100g butter
  • 75g light muscovado sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 2 tblsp plain flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 0.25 tsp vanilla extract
  • grated rind of half a lemon
  • 150g plain boiled or steamed potato, mashed, preferably using a ricer, and cooled

For the tart shells:

  • approx. 300g shortcrust pastry
  • 3-4 tblsp raspberry or apricot jam, warmed

You’ll also need:

  • 6 loose-bottomed tartlet tins (about 10cm diameter and 1.5cm deep) or a shallow swiss roll tin, around 27cm x 18cm.

The Steps:

  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • If you’re using pastry that has been frozen, make sure that it’s fully thawed out. If you’re making your own pastry, make it first and let it rest in the fridge while you make the filling.
  • Cream together the butter and sugar, using a stand mixer or food processor if you have such a thing, or a wooden spoon and elbow grease if not.
  • Beat in one of the eggs, followed by half of the ground almonds, then the second egg and, finally, add in the rest of the almonds.
  • Stir in the flour and salt, followed by the vanilla and lemon zest.
  • Stir in the mashed potato.
  • Roll out your pastry fairly thinly and line your tartlet tins (or swiss roll tin if using).
  • Taking each tin in turn, spread the base of the pastry with a thin layer of jam and pour over the potato/almond filling (you should have enough to roughly half fill the tins).
  • Bake for around 20 minutes or until lightly golden and firm to the touch.
  • Cool on a wire rack, after which you can remove the tartlets from their individual tins or (if using a swiss roll tin) cut into individual slices.

The Variations:

  • As with other frangipane-type mixtures, you could try making this with nuts other than almonds.

The Results:

  • 6 x 10cm bakewell tartlets

19 Comments

  1. I love each kind of Tarta, it’s no matter if it’s sweet, or salty they all are great!

  2. Daily Spud

    Monday, April 18, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Hey Toprice, would have to say that I feel the same way myself :)

  3. Oh, fantastic. This is going on the must make list. Looks divine. Oh pratai, I do love thee..

  4. Daily Spud

    Monday, April 18, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Hope you enjoy Sarah, I must make another batch soon myself!

  5. I got the same email and was so horrified I blogged about it — and spread the word to other professional food writers who are equally upset.

    Thanks for taking the time to drop by my blog and let me know you’re in my corner. Love your tart recipe. I hadn’t thought of potatoes as anything but a delicious side. Greek-styled lemon roasted are my favourite, in case you’re curious.

    Keep it real!

  6. Wow. Of all the dunderheaded moves… sending that pitch to you is near the top of the list! I’m enjoying all the backlash–so far it seems much greater than the positive response.

  7. Daily Spud

    Monday, April 18, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    Charmian: I was (naturally) as horrified as you were. United in spuds we shall be! And now I have a craving for some lemon-roasted beauties :)

    Debbie: It took a special talent to send that email my way :D

  8. I’m with Debbie, see above, can’t believe you got that press missive too. Glad to meet another pro potato person in the blogasphere.

  9. Daily Spud

    Monday, April 18, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    I’m always happy to meet other pro-potato folks too, Sarah, a real pleasure.

  10. Yay, DS! Let’s hear it for real potatoes. I read a couple of the folks’ posts who fell for the PR pitch. All I could think of was, “You will do *anything* for a hundred bucks, and you hate your kids.” Probably not what they were going for, but there you have it.

  11. Daily Spud

    Monday, April 18, 2011 at 8:15 pm

    I read a couple of those posts too, Jenni and, yep, I reckon that’s not quite the reaction they were going for either! Just makes me sad, really. They probably like Cool Whip too :D

  12. Hi Aoife,

    Scott here, the emailer of the contest. I saw your posts on Charmian and Liz’s blogs and wanted to apologize for sending you the Un-potato contest promotion.

    The contest clearly misses the mark in regards to the editorial of your site. (Blushing and shamed face currently staring at my computer screen.) The blog posts for the contest were meant light and funny in nature and don’t feature any nutritional claims.

    Please know that we did not mean to malign the food value in potatoes in any way.

    I’ll make sure to remove you from future blogger outreach around packaged foods, but would welcome working with you on something that better fits your blog’s POV and readership.

    Once again, my apologies and lesson learned!

    Best,

    Scott Lyon
    Blogger Outreach Manager
    Technorati Media

  13. Daily Spud

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 12:25 am

    Hi Scott, I appreciate your response. However innocently conceived, the campaign has actually managed to highlight the preferability of the natural food product over the packaged one – not the intended result, but the right one from my point of view!

  14. well, this has had another good result — it brought me to your blog, by way of your post at Charmian’s article. an unfortunate campaign indeed.
    good to see all the creative ways thoughtful food bloggers are responding, and as you point out, highlighting the benefits of the potato.

  15. They threw down in the wrong house, eh? No one talks smack about my potatoes. I’m so happy to include you in my potato round-up. Let’s all add even more delicious potato recipes to our repertoires,shall we?

  16. Daily Spud

    Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Kerry: Yes indeed, nice to see that even bad PR campaigns can have a silver lining :) Delighted that you found the blog and took the time out to visit.

    Rebecca: You betcha, lady! Looking forward to the grand spudly round-up.

  17. I am miffed for you! Do publicists even read the blogs they approach. This is more proof towards my theory that they do not. GREG PS Theory was one of the captacha words!

  18. Daily Spud

    Monday, April 25, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Hey Greg, I think (and would go so far as to say I know) that there’s a lot of truth in that theory of yours…

  19. Oh, I missed this whole kerfuffle! Good for you for standing up for your Spudly principles. I cast no aspersions on packaged foods as I’ve used my fair share, but nothing can beat natural, ‘from scratch’ preparation. Potato Bakewell Tart is new to me and most definitely goes on the to-make list!

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