Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Potato Layer Cake by any other name

I've mentioned before that I am a mag hag - show me a glossy magazine (food, fashion, home or scrapbooking) and I'll sit quietly in the corner for hours, emerging only to grab another pack of Post-It tags and a cup of tea.

One of my latest favourites is the British olive magazine. It's full of great recipes, fab photos, reader reviews and articles on eating out around the UK and the world.

However, the seasons are a bit back-to-front, as they are in the northern hemisphere, and we are in the south. But all is not lost - it takes so long for non-subscription copies of the mag to reach our shores that they are being fairly up-to-date for us.

Here is a recipe I made from the early-summer edition - a potato 'pie' that is very like a layered potato cake, filled with cheese, butter and sage. This recipe does take 2 hours to cook, so best to prepare it the day before you need it. Perfect for a day in a punt on a river (in England) or a spring picnic by a beach (in Australia).

Sage and onion potato pie
serves 4

2 medium onions, finely sliced
50g butter (for cooking onions)
1kg red-skinned potatoes, like Desiree or Pontiac
120g grated cheddar cheese
50g butter (for layering with the potatoes)
1 bunch sage, leaves only


1. Heat oven to 200 deg C (400 deg F)
2. Fry the onion in 50g butter until soft, about 5 minutes
3. Grease an 18cmx7cm springform tin with a little butter. (I think you could also line a normal baking tin with foil instead, although this may prevent the potato from browning up).
4. Place an overlapping layer of potato slices around the edge of the pan, and a layer of concentric overlapping discs on the base.
5. Scatter with some onion, cheese and sage leaves. Season with salt and pepper and dot with a little butter.
6. Continue layering with potato, onion, cheese and sage leaves, until you reach the top of the side layer of potatoes.
7. Sit the tin on a baking sheet and cover loosely with a scrunched up piece of foil. (It's important to put it on a baking sheet because, if you're using a springform tin, the butter will melt and leak out of the tin, so you need the baking sheet to contain it).
8. Bake for 1 1/2 hours. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes until the top is crisp and golden.
9. Cool in the tin and cut into wedges and serve with salad.

Recipe adapted from olive (June 2009)

Ingredients and preparation: sliced potatoes, onions and sage

Cook in a springform tin on a baking sheet

Cut into wedges to serve

Love the crispy bits on top!


  1. I love potato layers, especially if they feature boiled egg and plenty of cheese! I'll have to try sage next time - it sounds like the perfect addition.

  2. I love sage fried in butter with gnocchi, this sounds like it will taste the same, love the photo with all the various bits sticking out like a landscape - yum!

  3. This looks amazing! I heart anything with potato, must try!

  4. That looks fabulous with all those layers! I'm a big potato fan too so I will have to try it!

    LOL abt the mag-hag! :)

  5. I a mag hag too. I'm sure there is a support group somewhere. where we all get together and talk about our compulsive obsessive magazine collection. I worry one day a pile of magazine will fall on me and I'll be found malnourished and drolling from all the food pics.

    Potato anything has my heart and stomach doing flips with excitment

  6. hi Arwen - ooh, boiled egg, I didn't think of that! I was thinking maybe some bacon bits next time, though...

    hi Megan - hope you will give it a go, it's delicious.

    hi YaYa - I'd never cooked with sage until recently, and it is so good! And sage brown butter with gnocchi is the best!

    hi missklicious - I agree: potatoes are a vegetable after all, and veges are healthy, aren't they?

    hi Rilsta - the good thing about this recipe is that you don't need to peel the potatoes first. That way, the layers won't collapse. Bargain!

    hi Maria - LOL! I'm glad I'm not the only one! If there was a mag hag support group, I'm sure it would be spent talking about the latest mags and comparing old versions we have!

  7. Yum! I am definitely keeping this bookmarked to make! I love layered potatoes, there's something so satisfying about the texture.

  8. That looks awesome! :) I've got a post it note on a similar recipe. I wihs Post it would bring out a cooking range with colour coded things like "sweet", "savoury" or "fun" so we can see which recipes were good at a glance!

  9. hi Forager - give these potatoes a go, they taste fantastic, and yes, the soft/crunchy texture is great.

    hi Lorraine - Kikki-K has little post-it Recipe tags for 'fish', 'meat', 'dessert', etc. They should make more 'dessert' ones!