Jenell Parsons' Gruyère, leek and potato pie

A pie-take on a traditional creamy soup recipe

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Who would think that a traditional creamy soup could be even better in the form of a comforting pie with golden crunchy crust? Well, the cookbook author and the owner of The Pie Hole, Jenell Parsons, would! The testimony to her creative outlook on baking is her new You Wanna Piece of Me? cookbook featuring various savory and sweet pie recipes. If you’re already a pie fan yourself, this Gruyère, leek & potato pie recipe with sliced potatoes and cheesy filling might make you reconsider your current number one pie choice.

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“When I first brought this creation home from the bakery to my number-one test subject (my husband), I was hesitant to share it with him. It is a vegetarian pie, and he’s definitely a meat and potatoes kind of guy. But a few bites in he claimed that it was challenging his current favorite meat pie! I was shocked, but, hey, what’s not to love about super-creamy-cheese-loaded potatoes with leeks in an all-butter pastry,” says Parsons.

Double butter crust

1 cup water, ice cold
1 tbsp vinegar, cold
1 cup butter, cold
4 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
egg wash

Start by mixing the water and vinegar together in a bowl or jug and putting it into the freezer so it’s icy cold when you need it. Cut the butter into 1-inch cubes and put them in the freezer as well to keep as cold as possible while you measure the other ingredients.


Prepare the dough by hand

Measure the flour, sugar, and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix to fully incorporate.

Add the cold butter to the flour mixture, and use your fingers to massage the butter into the flour, breaking it apart and coating it in flour. Continue massaging and rolling the butter between your fingers until you have a coarse mixture with pea- to almond-sized pieces of butter throughout.

Add 3 Tbsp of the cold vinegar-water mixture. Slowly mix in the water with your hands, gently squeezing the butter and flour to help it come together.

Continue adding the vinegar-water mixture just 1 Tbsp at a time, mixing it in gently with your hands. The goal is to add just enough water to get the dough to come together into a shaggy mixture —and once it gets to that point, hands off!

Turn to chill the dough on page 22 for directions on how to chill and roll your dough.

Chill the dough

Bring your dough together to form a ball, divide it in half, and wrap each piece snugly with plastic wrap. At this point the dough is quite pliable, so press it down until it forms disks about 1 inch thick. This will save both time and effort when you start rolling the dough, as it’s more difficult to roll once chilled. Place the disks in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes to relax the gluten in the dough, which gives you a much more tender pastry. At this point you can also freeze the dough.

Rolling the dough

When you are ready to start rolling, remove the dough from the fridge and unwrap it (you need 1 disk for a single-crust pie and 2 disks for a double-crust pie). If the dough is frozen, fully thaw it first (by moving it to the fridge overnight, or sitting it out on the counter for a couple of hours).

Sprinkle your work surface and dough with flour, and use a rolling pin to start rolling out 1 of the disks. Rotate the dough 90 degrees after every few passes to work toward creating a circular shape. If the circumference of the disk is not getting larger as you roll, there’s a good chance the dough is stuck to the surface below. Carefully lift the dough and add more flour to the surface. I also often flour the top of the dough and flip it over, then continue to roll. Keep rolling out the dough until it is about ⅛ inch thick.

Next, take your pie plate and turn it upside down in the center of the rolled dough. Use the plate as a template to cut the dough to size. Depending on the depth of the pie plate, cut out a circle of dough 1½ to 2 inches larger than the rim of the pie plate (the deeper the pie plate, the larger the circle will need to be). It is best to go larger, as you can always trim; you never want to have to stretch the dough to make it fit, as it shrinks back as it bakes.

Remove the pie plate and sprinkle a little flour over the surface of the dough. Then gently lift and transfer the dough to the pie plate with the floured side facing down. This, along with all the butter in the dough, will help keep the pie from sticking to the pie plate, so no need to worry about greasing or flouring your pie plate. Gently press the dough into the plate.

Dock the bottom of the dough with a fork to allow steam to escape when baking.

For a double-crust pie

Repeat steps 1 and 2 of Rolling the Dough with your second disk of dough. If you are creating a full lid for your top pie crust, try to roll the dough into an even circular shape. If you are preparing the dough for a lattice design try to roll it into more of a rectangular shape to help you cut nice even strips that will fit across the pie without stretching. Keep chilled until you are ready to assemble the pie.

Once you have added the pie filling to the bottom crust, use a pastry brush to brush the edges of the crust with egg wash. Make sure to get it into all the nooks and crannies as this helps the top pie crust to adhere to it.

Top with the top pie crust and secure the edges by pinching the bottom and top crusts together. Trim off any excess dough and flute the edges. Brush the whole surface with egg wash. Follow the individual pie recipe for baking and serving the pie.

Double crust, double yum!

Egg wash

1 egg
Splash of milk or water (optional)
Pinch salt (optional)

When ready to wash the pie, whisk the egg in a bowl until smooth and light in color. The more you whisk, the easier it is to brush on. Use a pastry brush to wash the pie per the recipe’s instructions.

Vegan pie crust

1 cup water, ice cold
2 tbsp vinegar
1 1/3 cup vegan butter, cold
3/4 cup vegan shortening, cold
5 cups flour
2 tbsp organic cane sugar
1 tbsp salt

Mix the water and vinegar together in a bowl or jug and put it into the freezer so it’s icy cold when you need it.

Cut the vegan butter into 1-inch cubes, and chill in the freezer. As the vegan shortening is too soft to cut, use a tablespoon to scoop pieces about 1 inch across. Place in the freezer too to keep as cold as possible.

Measure the flour, sugar, and salt into a large mixing bowl and mix to fully incorporate.

Add the cold vegan butter and vegan shortening to the flour mixture, and gently use your fingers to massage them into the flour, breaking the pieces apart and coating them in flour. Continue massaging and rolling the butter between your fingers until you have a coarse mixture with pea- to almond-sized pieces of butter and shortening throughout. Do not overmix.

Turn to chill the dough on page 22, and then follow the remain- ing steps on pages 23 and 24 to roll the dough and finish the crust.

Gruyère, leek & potato filling

1 recipe double butter crust
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch-thick pieces
3 stalks leeks, washed and diced
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
3/4 cup milk
1 cup grated gruyere cheese
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper
1 tsp lemon juice

Prepare a double 9-inch Double Butter Crust. Chill the dough (bottom shell in the pie plate) until ready to assemble your pie. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until just becoming tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and let cool to room temperature.

Cook the leeks in a large pot with the butter over medium heat until soft and tender, about 7 minutes. Add the flour and mix to evenly coat the leeks. Cook for 30 to 60 seconds. Add the milk and stir well. Continue to cook until the mixture thickens. Add the Gruyère cheese, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Stir until the cheese has melted, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Add the sliced potatoes to the bottom pie shell, filling the pie one-quarter full. Next, add a layer of the leek mixture to fill the pie half full. Repeat this process with the remaining potatoes and leeks, and smooth out to be nice and even.

Follow the steps for adding the top crust (page 24). Lightly score the dough (not cutting through) with diagonal lines using a paring knife (this is purely for aesthetics). Then cut four 1-inch slits to vent the pie. Chill the pie for 30 minutes in the fridge or 15 minutes in the freezer before baking. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the pie on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 60 to 70 minutes until the top is golden brown; some of the filling may start to bubble out of the vent holes. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 to 15 minutes as it will be extremely hot.

One 9 - inch double crust pie
Prep Time:
30 minutes
Cook Time:
1 hour