Ken Haedrich has a fleet of wonderful cookbooks. His latest, Harvest Baker, is clearly the flagship, the best book he has ever written. And that, I assure you, is saying a great deal.

This was the first recipe Suzi and I made from the book. We are cast iron fans, love crust, and there are nights when we do not want meat. Well, not too much meat. Just a little bacon on top.

Here the bottom crust is nicely done, almost cracker-like Ken notes. Inside the filling begins with braised onions and little new potatoes and spinach. For richness, you add cheese and heavy cream. For smokiness, just a little bacon. This is a marvelous template for you. Feel free to choose other cheeses, other veggies. It’s sure to come out of your oven very hot, very gooey, and very tempting.

If by chance this pie is not gone the first night, it’s actually better on the second. So, do try to pace yourself.

The first ingredient here is Ken’s Good Basic Pie Dough on page 145 of the book. You can use the pie dough of your own preference, but I’m hinting here you want to get the book and get this pie dough recipe for your own. Trust me: Ken’s doughs are easy and unsurpassed.

New Potato, Spinach and Blue Cheese Skillet Tart

Yield: serves 6 to 8


  • Good Basic Pie Dough (page 145)
  • 4 bacon strips
  • 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1-1¼ pounds (about 8 to 10) small new potatoes, cut into bite-size chunks
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3-6 tablespoons chicken stock or water
  • 8 ounces (several large handfuls) baby spinach
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¾ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary


Prepare the pie dough, and refrigerate it for at least 1 ½ to 2 hours before rolling.

On a sheet of lightly floured waxed paper, roll the dough into a 13- to 13 ½‑inch circle. Invert the pastry over a 9 ½ – or 10-inch cast-iron skillet, center and peel off the paper. Gently tuck the pastry into the pan, letting the edges rest against the sides of the pan. Refrigerate while you make the filling.

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Fry the bacon strips in another large skillet until crisp. Transfer to a plate. Leave 2 to 3 tablespoons of fat in the pan; add the onions and sauté for 10 minutes over medium heat, until soft plight golden. Add the potatoes, salt and pepper them to taste, and stir in 3 tablespoons of the chicken stock. Cover the pan and gently steam-cook the potatoes, adding more liquid if needed, until the potatoes are about halfway done. Stir in the spinach and garlic and continue to cook until all of the spinach is wilted, about 2 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the heat and cool briefly. They should be slightly underdone, and very little liquid should be left in the pan.

Stir the Parmesan into the skillet vegetables, then scrape the vegetables into the skillet pie shell. Crumble the blue cheese over the vegetables, drizzle lithe cream, and sprinkle with the rosemary. Crumble the bacon over the top. Fold the edge of the pastry over the filling.

Bake the tart for 40 to 50 minutes, until it is golden brown and bubbly, transfer to a cooling rack and cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and serving in large wedges.

Wrap any leftovers in foil and refrigerate. Reheat leftovers on baking sheet in a 3oo°F oven for 12 to 15 minutes.

Source: The Harvest Baker by Ken Haedrich [Storey 2017]

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/3.5 for 1/30th second at ISO‑800

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/4 for 1/30th second at ISO‑200