There are certain people you meet over the course of your life whom you will never forget, and the person who gave me this recipe is one of them. Her name was Stella Wilson and she was from South Africa. I met her when I lived in Los Angeles many years ago. She had this captivating way about her and was living in L.A. as if she were still in her omeland, with Isak Dinesen chronicling her story. When I first had this unforgettable delicious pie at her house, it was served by one of the most beautiful African men I have ever seen.
For the Crust:
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, plus extra for greasing the pie pan
- 1 cup vegetable shortening
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- pinch of salt
For the Filling:
- 6 potatoes, peeled and sliced 1⁄4 inch thick
- (russets or Idaho potatoes are fine)
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 11⁄2 cups heavy cream
1. Combine all the ingredients for the crust in a medium-size bowl and use a wooden spoon to mix well. The butter and shortening will melt and the mixture will be soupy. It will firm up after chilling. Press the dough into a ball and wrap in plastic. Chill overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the dough into two even-size balls. Roll out one ball on a lightly floured work surface about 1⁄4 inch thick. Place the rolled- out circle in a buttered, deep 9-inch pie plate. Layer the sliced potatoes, onion, and parsley in the dish and dot the final layer with the pieces of butter. Roll out the second dough ball to the same thickness and place it over the filling. Crimp the edges of the top and bottom crusts together with a fork and trim around the edge. Make eight to ten 1-inch slits all around the top of the crust. Brush the top crust with the beaten egg.
3. Bake for 20 minutes and then pour 6 to 8 tablespoons of the cream, little by little, through the slits. Repeat with more cream every 20 to 30 minutes until the cream is gone. Bake until the crust is golden brown and the potatoes are tender, about 11⁄2 hours. Serve hot.
If you have a square or rectangular dish that is at least 3 inches deep, it is fine to use. The dough can be made and kept in a ball 2 to 4 days in advance. When you take it out of the refrigerator, it will be very hard. Leave it at room temperature for at least 30 minutes to soften it before trying to roll it out. Flour your rolling pin and work surface and firmly tap the dough ball with the rolling pin to soften it.
With permission from Hampton Weekends: Easy Menus for Casual Entertaining All Year Round, by Ellen Wright