When you put carbs onto carbs, you just know the result is going to be a successful one. And when you throw cheese and cream into the works, well that combination just speaks for itself. I’ve only once seen, and indeed tried, Tartiflette pizza. It was my birthday and my partner and I found ourselves in Castellane, not far from Nice in the south of France. We had driven through the mountains from Nice to find a place to white water raft. In this quiet little town we sat outside an empty restaurant, warmed by an electric heater, and devoured two of these. Tartiflette is a hearty potato dish from the Savoy region made with the local cheese, Reblochon, and is designed, no doubt, to keep out the cold. Served as a pizza topping it is comfort food at its best.
INGREDIENTS - SERVES 1-2
For the dough
- 200g strong white bread flour
- 7g sachet fast-action yeast
- 5g fine sea salt
- 140ml warm water
For the Tartiflette
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 200g smoked streaky bacon, roughly chopped
- 1 small onion, very finely sliced
- 50g unsalted butter
- 350g Charlotte potatoes, cut into 1cm cubes
- 3 garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 150ml dry white wine
- 150ml double cream
- 240g Reblochon cheese
- Fine sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper
For the dough simply combine the ingredientsin a large bowl and mix until everything comes together to form a scraggy mass. Knead the dough either by hand for about 10 minutesor in a mixer fittedwith a dough hook for 5 minutes. It’s absolutely crucial that you don’t add any more flour. This dough will be quite wet, and that is precisely right. Not a single grain more! As soon as the dough is smooth and elastic, it is ready. Put the dough into a greased bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rest until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, make the topping. Heat a large frying pan over a high heat and once hot add 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil and the bacon and onion. Reduce the heat to medium and allow the bacon to cook until fairly crispy, and the onion is soft and a little browned. Tip into a bowl and set aside until needed.
Return the pan to a medium heat and add another 1 tablespoon of oil along with the butter. Add the potatoes and garlic cloves to the pan and leave to cook slowly for about 25–30 minutes, tossing the pan occasionally. This may seem like a long time, but it’s better to cook the potatoes over a lower heat for longer, to achieve an unrivalled inner tenderness and outer crispiness. Once the potatoes are cooked, turn the heat to high and add the wine, allowing it to bubble and evaporate completely. Add the cream and cook it until thickly reduced – don’t worry if it splits. Stir in 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper, remove and discard the garlic cloves, then remove from the heat and add to the bowl with the bacon and onion. Roughly chop half of the cheese and add it to the bowl.
Preheat the oven to 250°C/230°C fan/gas mark 9, and place a baking sheet or pizza stone into the oven to get hot.
Once the dough has doubled in size, dust a second baking sheet liberally with flour and roll out the dough to a disc about 23cm in diameter. Check the disc of dough isn’t stuck down to the baking sheet – give the sheet a quick jerk back and forward to ensure the disc moves freely on the flour. Scatter the Tartiflette mixture over the dough, slice the remaining cheese and add that, then slide the pizza off the cold baking sheet and onto the hot one in the oven. Bake for 7–10 minutes until the edge of the pizza is puffed up and golden. Serve immediately.