A Potato Masterpiece
Tender purple potatoes, cloaked with white cheddar, crisp up slightly in the oven. The tang from the crème fraîche plays nicely against the salty, smoky bacon, and the scallions bring a tamed onion flavor. The sum of these ingredients: a crazy-rich pie, perfect for Saint Paddy's Day.
Peel your purple potato, then slice it into rounds 1/8-inch thick (using a mandoline, the slicing disk of a food processor, or your trusty kitchen knife).
Heavy Cream + Potatoes = Happiness
Place your sliced potatoes into a small saucepan, and just cover the potatoes with heavy cream. Bring the heavy cream to a gentle simmer and let the potatoes cook until they are fork-tender, but not crumbly.
Glen stresses the importance of starting the cream at the same temperature as the potatoes, because it allows for "more even cooking and a dispersed penetration of heat." Yeah, this guy worked at Pulino's.
Bacon Is Beautiful
Now it's time to render the fat from the bacon. Take your thick-cut bacon (Pete and Glen use double-smoked applewood slab bacon) and cut the slices into lardons, or 1/4-inch thick sticks. Heat a heavy skillet or saute pan over moderate heat, then toss in your bacon lardons. Cook the bacon until it's golden brown (as pictured) and the fat has been rendered.
Par-bake the Crust
After rolling out the dough, the PeteZaaz crew blind bakes the dough for 30 seconds to one minute.
In your oven at home, depending on the highest temperature it will reach and if you are using a pizza stone, that would translate to around 5-6 minutes. You are looking for the crust to puff up slightly, but not get any color. Pete points out that this is an important step, otherwise the dough would become soggy when you apply the crème fraîche as a base (which brings us to our next step...)
Now That's Fraîche
Spread a few tablespoons of crème fraîche in a thin, even layer over the par-baked crust. Make sure you hit the corners with some of that creamy goodness.
Place the Potatoes
Gently arrange the cooked potato slices over the crème fraîche. Glen uses a spatula so he doesn't break the potatoes—good idea. Don't feel like you have to cover the entire surface of the pizza with potatoes; there will definitely be some space in between.
Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese over the pizza surface. Next, evenly distribute the cooked bacon lardons.
Into the Oven
Here, Glen puts the pie into the PeteZaaz gas-fired oven, where the cheese will melt and the crust will get puffy and golden brown. Glen likes to take the pizza out mid-way through cooking and rotate it in the oven, to ensure that the crust cooks evenly. When you are cooking this pie at home, Glen advises that you use a pizza stone, pre-heat your oven to the highest temperature it can reach, and then broil the pizza for the last minute or so.
Once out of the oven, sprinkle the thinly sliced scallions over the pie. To finish the pie, Pete drizzles extra virgin olive oil and sprinkles Maldon sea salt on the cornicione—nice touch.
We're Not Done Yet
For the final step, place a dollop of crème fraîche in the very center of the pizza. Et voilà, you've got yourself one damn fine baked potato pizza.