This recipe does take a little bit of time to prepare (you’ll need to begin 2 days ahead), but the ends definitely justify the means. Enjoy this as an elegant appetiser with a leaf salad or as side for a main.
These pavé, golden bricks of pressed, creamy potato, take their name from the French word for cobblestone.
- 250 ml (1 cup) pure (single) cream (35% milk fat)
- 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- 1 fresh bay leaf
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1.2 kg potatoes
- 1½ tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Chilling time: 6 hours + 6 hours
Combine the cream, garlic, thyme, bay and peppercorns together in a saucepan, bring to the boil over medium heat, then reduce to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight to allow the flavours to infuse.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 22 cm x 11 cm loaf tin with baking paper, with ample overhang.
Heat the cream until runny, then strain into a large bowl. Discard the solids.
Peel the potatoes and using a mandolin or sharp knife, cut the potatoes into thin slices, placing them in the cream as you go, being sure to give them a good coating in the cream to avoid oxidisation. Arrange potato slices in the tin, overlapping and pressing down, trying to build the layers as evenly as possible. Every second layer, pour in some of the cream, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over some of the rosemary leaves. Make sure that the top layer is only potato.
Fold the overhanging paper over the top to enclose the potato and wrap the top in foil. Bake for 1 hour or until a knife feels no resistance when inserted.
Remove the foil and open the baking paper, return the tin to the oven and bake for a further 30 minutes or until the top is golden.
Remove the tin from the oven and fold over the paper once more. Cut a cardboard rectangle to fit over the potato and place on top of the paper. Weight down with a few cans and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight to set.
Preheat the oven to 200C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
Remove the potato from the fridge, and carefully turn out onto a chopping board. Trim all the edges so you have a neat rectangle. Cut the potato into 2 cm-thick slices and place the tray.
Bake for 10 minutes each side until golden. Serve hot.
Photography by Benito Martin. Styling by Lynsey Fryers. Food preparation by Nick Banbury. Creative concept by Belinda So.