Laura Calder's Pommes Anna

Pommes Anna

I've written before that baking brought me a sense of accomplishment when I felt I was losing any grip on my own life. In California, I lived in a house where I wasn't paying rent. I didn't love my boyfriend. I regretted going to law school. I slept for long hours when I was unemployed. I found no reason to do anything to pass the time. I tried my hand at running with Murphy (we only had Murphy at the time), but the California sun was hot and I was breathless from chainsmoking and skipping breakfast.

So I cooked. I baked. I read cookbooks and dog-eared library books. One influence on me was Laura Calder, who hosted a french cooking show on the Cooking Channel. I went through her whole series in a matter of days, having recorded them to watch later. And a dish that inspired me, to have me realize that French cuisine is more rustic than fussy, was her pommes anna, which I have adapted only slightly below.

Pommes Anna

Pommes Anna

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs potatoes, cleaned
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 TB unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon flaked sea salt
  • 2 TB thyme

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400*F
  2. Cut out two rounds of parchment paper that fit a 12-inch cast iron skillet
  3. Grease skillet and place one round onto the skillet
  4. Whisk together heavy cream and butter
  5. Thinly slice your potatoes and place into your heavy cream mixture
  6. Arrange your potatoes in layers, sprinkling with a bit of salt, pepper, and thyme
  7. Keep layering until you're out of potatoes
  8. Now, place the second parchment round on top of the potatoes and press down gently
  9. Weigh your potatoes down with a heavy pan or dutch oven to press all layers together while baking
  10. Bake for 1 and a half hours or until tender in the middle and crisp on the edges
  11. Allow to cool before inverting onto a pan
  12. Slice and enjoy!
Pommes Anna
Pommes Anna
Pommes Anna
Pommes Anna