Pommes de Terre Anna

Potato Cake

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

A Canon of Vegetables

A Canon of Vegetables

By Raymond Sokolov

Published 2007

  • About

This is best done in one of those round copper casseroles sold as pommes Anna pans. Faute de mieux, use a soufflé or charlotte mold with a 6 -inch diameter. You end up with a potato cake formed with overlapping potato circles. If you were to intersperse the potato circles with black truffle circles you would be broke but happy with your pommes de terre sarladaises.

Who was the eponymous Anna? Pavlova? Karenina? I have no idea. But I’ve been to Sarlat, a picturesque old town in the Dordogne in southwest France where black truffles grow not on but under trees.

Ingredients

  • pounds potatoes
  • 12 ounces butter, clarified
  • Salt

Method

  1. Peel the potatoes and hold in cold water until you finish peeling them all. Then trim them into cylinders so that you can produce uniform slices.
  2. Slice as thin as possible, preferably with a mandoline, or barring that, a thin sharp knife.
  3. Generously butter the bottom and sides of the pan. Melt the rest of the butter.
  4. Arrange the potato slices in an overlapping circle around the outer edge of the bottom of the pan. Then make a second overlapping circle inside the first. Continue until you have covered the bottom of the pan with concentric circles of overlapping potato slices. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Take a pastry brush and lightly coat the potato slices with butter.
  5. Repeat this process, making several layers, but no more than six. Coat with a final layer of butter. Cover and bake in a 425-degree oven for about 30 minutes. The dish is done when a knife slips easily through the potatoes.
  6. To serve, pour off all the butter you can (reserving it for future use). Either serve directly from a pommes Anna pan or unmold onto a serving plate: First, invert an ordinary plate over the pan or mold. Holding the mold with one hand and the plate with the other, flip them over so the potato cake ends up on the plate. Then slip the cake onto the serving platter.