There are few things I like more than reading, but delicious food is one of them, and combining the two is a match made in heaven. A high school friend and I reconnected last fall at the National Book Festival and decided that the coupling of books and food was something we wanted more of in our lives. So, we thought we’d try our hand at hosting a literary dinner party. Our bookish feast finally came to fruition a couple weekends ago.
We chose The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows as our first book, and by golly, it was fantastic! Both of us love the story, and food plays a very important role in the creation of the titular society. It also turns out that it’s coming out as a movie later this year (see the trailer here). Our table was laden with roast pig, turnips, peas (all mentioned at some point in the book) and, of course, potato peel pie.
Before reading the book, I’d always wondered about the potato peel pie part of the the book’s title. Is it just a pie full of potato peels??? That sounds gross. Oh, but it’s not gross — it’s scrumptious! Imagine a pie with hashbrowns as the crust, mashed potatoes as the filling, with cheese and chives on top. Yummy-sounding, right? That’s a potato peel pie!
The book describes it as a concoction of “mashed potatoes for filling, strained beets for sweetness, and potato peelings for crust.” This was a helpful starting point, but I needed more information before I attempted to make it for the party. Thankfully, the Guernsey tourist office has a YouTube videos with one of their local chefs making different versions of the potato peel pie. Using those videos, some other book bloggers’ recipes, and some of my favorite cookbooks, I developed my own culinary interpretation of the pie.
Here’s the recipe if you’d like to give it a try!
For the pie crust:
3 pounds Russet potatoes
1 egg white
2 teaspoons flour
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350° F
- Grate the peels off the 3 pounds of potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Reserve the grated potatoes in cold water for later in the recipe. Mix the egg, flour, salt and pepper into the grated peels.
- Grease a 9-inch pie pan and spread the potato-peel mixture evenly on the bottom and sides.
- Bake in the oven for 20 – 25 minutes until golden brown.
For the filling:
3 pounds of Russet potatoes (these are the same potatoes you used for the crust, but with the peels removed)
1 pre-cooked beet run through a ricer (it should be mostly liquid)
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons butter, cut into ½-inch pieces, room temperature
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Use a peeler to remove an excess peel from the potatoes, then cut into 2-inch pieces. Place the potato pieces in a large strainer and run cold water over them until the water runs clear.
- Bring a stockpot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the potatoes and boil for about 15 minutes.
- While the potatoes are boiling, heat the milk and butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until the butter has melted.
- When you can cut a knife easily through the potatoes, drain them back into the strainer. Then, run the potato pieces through a ricer into a large bowl.
- Once all the potatoes are riced, fold in the milk and butter slowly until combined. Add the beet juice and season to taste. (Yes, it will be pink!)
Putting it all together:
⅓ cup freshly shredded cheddar cheese
1 ½ tbsp freshly chopped chives
- Set oven to broil.
- Spread all the mashed potatoes into the potato peel crust.
- Sprinkle cheese evenly over the mashed potatoes and broil until golden brown
- Sprinkle chives on top and serve!
I thought it tasted pretty darn good. I hope you enjoy it too. Let me know how it turns out if you give it a try!