French Potato Pie (tourte aux pommes de terre)

Today I’m making French Potato Pie or tourte aux pommes de terre which is a specialty of centra France. My two favorite things are potatoes and anything savory cooked in a pie crust. I guess I would describe this dish as scalloped potatoes baked into a pie. “Truly decadent” is an understatement.

I like to serve this dish with a simple arugula salad.

Because I’m not classically trained, I’m always challenging myself to learn the technique of making French dishes. My favorite is to explore rustic dishes I consider to be comfort food from different regions in France. Check out my other French dishes like, my Coq au Vin or my Tomato Gratin. The links for these are posted at the bottom of this recipe.


The small green specks you see in my dough are small pieces of my minced Italian flat-leaf parsley. They must have still been on my board and got caught up in my dough when I was rolling it out. lol!

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
Yields: 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) sauce pot, 1 (9-inch) pie pan/plate, chef’s knife, potato, peeler, rubber spatula, 1/2 rimmed baking sheet pan, aluminum foil, parchment paper, box grater, large plastic container, medium size bowl, colendar, 1 (2-cup) measuring cup, measuring spoons, pastry brush, Microplane, ruler, small bowl

Tip: You can make the pie crust up to 2 days in advance. To get my recipe, for Homemade Pie Crust, click at the bottom of this post.

2 (12-inch) dough rounds, link for Homemade Pie Crust, below
2 1/2 pounds of Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced crosswise 1/8-inch thick
4 quarts of water
1 sweet onion, sliced thin into half moons
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
1 1/4 cups of heavy cream
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg, freshly grated
6 ounces of Gruyére cheese, freshly grated (approx. 1 1/4 cups after grated), optional
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely minced

Note: If you do consume eggs, substitute a milk product for the egg wash.

Egg Wash:
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon of heavy cream

To start, have your dough ready to be rolled out into 2 (12-inch in diameter) rounds. 1 hour before baking the pie start the filling. In a medium-size mixing bowl toss the sliced onion with the Kosher salt and set aside.

Bring 4 quarts of water, in a large heavy duty sauce pot to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes to the water with the 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Return to a boil and cook for 1 minute, then drain the potatoes.

Return the potatoes to the pot. In a measuring cup add the heavy cream, freshly grated nutmeg, fresh grated black pepper, whisk together to combine. Then add the sliced onions with any of the accumulated liquid in the bowl. Bring this to a simmer over high heat. Adjust the heat to medium, simmer and cook until the cream thickens, stirring gently and frequently, about 5 minutes. Don’t worry if some of the potatoes break.

Remove the pot from the heat, allow the potato mixture to cool for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours. Once the potatoes mixture has cooled, add the finely minced Italian flat-leaf parsley and fresh grated Gruyére cheese. Gently mix to combine.

On a well floured surface roll 1 disk of the dough into a 12-inch round. Loosely roll the dough around a rolling pin and gently unroll it onto a 9-inch pie plate, letting the excess dough hang over the edge. Ease the dough into the plate by gently lifting the edge of dough with your hand while placing it into the plate bottom with your other hand. Refrigerate until the dough is firm, about 30 minutes.

Roll the second disk of dough onto a well floured surface into another 12-inch round. Transfer it to a parchment paper lined baking sheet pan, refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450-degrees F.
Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position. Transfer the potato mixture into the dough lined pie plate and ,using a rubber spatula, spread into an even layer. It’s fine if the potato mixture is still slightly warm. Using a round tip from a pastry bag, insert the tip into the center of the second dough round. This hole is to allow for the steam to escape. I like doing 3 holes in a triangular pattern because I can never seem to get the hole in the dead center of the dough, lol. 

Loosely roll the dough around the rolling pin and gently unroll it over the filling. Line the holes up with the center of the pie leaving a half-inch overhang all around. Fold the dough under itself so the edge of the fold is flush with the outer rim of the pie plate.

Note: I had a little extra dough leftover. I rolled out the dough and used my leaf-dough cutters to decorate the pie.

Using the tines of a fork, gently press down all around the edges of the dough crimping the dough to seal the pie. Place the pie on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet pan. In a small bowl, whisk together beaten eggs with 1 tablespoon of heavy cream. Brush the top of the pie with the egg wash. Bake until the top is light golden brown, 18 to 20 minutes.

Adjust oven temperature to 325-degrees F.
Remove the pie from the oven. Loosely cover the entire pie with foil. This will prevent the edges of the pie from burning before the potatoes are tender and cooked through. Continue to bake for 30 minutes. At this point, remove the foil and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes more or until the crust is a deep golden brown and the potatoes are tender. You can check this by inserting a paring knife into the potatoes by using one of the pie venting holes.

Let the pie cool on a wire rack for at leat 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature. There you have it, my French Potato Pie.