Individual Potato Pies à la Clamart. Mazagran with petits pois and raw cream. Gluten-free

I've been making these in the larger version for years, neither aware that they had an official French culinary name nor that they were traditional gluten-free hors d'oeuvres! I tend to read cookery books, as I would novels and in Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, Larousse Gastronomique and Hannah Glasse's The Art of Cookery, the recipes are but a fraction of the whole. The rest is history, husbandry, anecdotes and personal experience, all of which goes to make a 'damn good read'. Food and the way we prepare and consume it is part of our heritage, every dish tells us something about who we were and who we are today.

Individual Potato Pies à la Clamart (petits pois and cream) recipe

Most people may know the term Mazagran from the fashion of drinking ice cold, often ice-drip coffee from a distinctive glass or earthernware cup. It's actually quite an old fashion, as it dates back to the siege of Mazagran in 1840, when a group of French soldiers, as legend has it, were obliged to drink cold coffee with water rather than their usual hot coffee with brandy. This however, does not explain how in Larousse Gastronomique, the term also refers to an oven-baked potato pastry pie, 'filled with a salpicon...or similar preparation'. There are Algerian Maakouda or fried potato cakes, which are sometimes baked but not filled. Thus, Mazagran could be a regional version or perhaps people used the distinctive Mazagran cup to cut out the potato pastry... whatever the explanation, they are delicious! However, if any one knows the exact reason for this name, I would be very interested.


When we think of Catherine de Medici it may not be cookery that first springs to mind. With her marriage to Henry II in 1533 and as part of her dowry, she brought with her from the Florentine court a whole host of chefs, cooks, gardeners, and viticulturalists, who would change the cuisine of France and establish it as one of the greatest in the World. Many French dishes today were founded on Catherine's dowry in the way of new seed varieties and the manner of harvesting and preparing vegetables. One example was Cassoulet, the chief ingredient being the famous Tarbais bean and another was the fashion for petits pois. Until the arrival of Catherine, peas had been grown only in the varieties suitable for harvesting and drying for Winter use. Famously due to their protein content and ease of storage, the armies of France marched not just on their stomachs but more specifically on peas. The Florentine Court consumed peas fresh and also consumed them young. 

Old habits die hard however, and it was not until the late 1600s, when a French nobleman returned from Genoa  with fresh peas and presented them to Louis XIV,  that they became incredibly fashionable. The craze for eating them when immature, of course meant that they were so small that the price rose to accommodate the need for early harvesting and thus diminished yields. High prices only fuelled 'the fashion and madness for petits pois', as Madame de Maintenon, the King's mistress and later his second wife, wrote in a letter to cardinal Cardinal de Noailles in May, 1696:
'Petis pois continue to be a fascinating  topic. The  expectation of eating them, the pleasure of eating them and the anticipation of eating more of them are three subjects which our princes have been discussing for three days.'
To have them as fresh as possible for the noble tables of Paris, areas in its vicinity were dedicated to the culture of petits pois. For their extensive market gardens comprising pea fields, towns such as Saint-Germain and Clamart had recipes named after them which incorporated this new fashion for eating little immature peas. This is one of the easiest of the mazagran fillings but it is nonetheless very tasty. So let's make mazagrans à la Clamart.


Preheat the oven to 220°C or 425°F

IIndividual Potato Pies à la Clamart (petits pois and cream) gluten-free recipe


(makes 16)

For the 'Pastry':

4 medium to large potatoes
A knob of butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper
White rice flour for dusting

For the Filling:

16 heaped teaspoonfuls of cooked petits pois
1 tablespoon of fresh raw cream
Salt and freshly ground pepper


For the 'Pastry':

Boil the potatoes whole and in their skins until firm but cooked well enough so that  a fork will pierce them easily. Peel and then mash with a hand masher, thus avoiding any chance of the potato becoming 'gluey'. Add salt and pepper and the butter. Set aside to cool.

For the Filling:

Mash the peas and cream together to obtain a smoothish paste - I preferred to still have some texture to my petits pois as this makes a good contrast to that of the potato pastry. 


Individual Potato Pies (Mazagrans) Gluten-free Organic Recipe
Mazagrans were traditionally cut out with round fluted cutters and in fact for the first ones I made I used these. However, I recently bought a set of four different shaped biscuit cutters in three different sizes because, firstly I thought they would look more interesting on a buffet table and secondly it was a lot easier for me to keep track of what filling was in which!

Individual Potato Pies (Creamed  Peas Mazagrans) Gluten-free Organic Recipe
Dust your pastry board and rolling pin with rice flour. Work with a handful of pastry at a time, it's easier that way. Roll it out and add more rice flour if the potato begins to stick to either the board or pin. Using a cutter of your choice, I liked the medium heart for this, cut out the 'pastry' shapes. When you have cut the first one and with the cutter still in place move it slightly from left to right. If it slides easily and the potato moves with it then the rice flour is doing its work. I was so happy to find this solution, as I tried first with potato flour and it was nowhere near as successful!

Place the shapes onto a buttered tray.

Individual Potato Pies à la Clamart.  Gluten-free Organic Recipe
Cut the lids so you will be ready to assemble them immediately you have positioned the filling. Prick the lids with a fork to allow for any excess moisture to escape.

Individual Potato Pies à la Clamart.  Gluten-free Organic Recipe
Place one teaspoonful of the pea and cream mixture on each heart leaving a border to allow for a good seal with the potato lid. Make sure to press around the edges of the heart gently but firmly.

Cook for 10 to 15 minutes on the top shelf of the oven, but check after 5 minutes to make sure they not cooking too quickly. If they are, then move the tray down to the next level.

Serve warm.


All that needs to be said now is Bon Appėtit!

Hope to see you here again for another recipe from my 100 Gluten-Free Organic Party Foods Challenge!

All the best,



Potato heart-shaped canapés à la provençale. 

The nineteenth recipe in my 100 Gluten-free Party Food Challenge. This Mazagran  is one with a difference, for when I looked at making an à la provençale more



©  Sue Cross 2017
Thanks to the Pinterest Boards of for The Marriage of Catherine de Medici and for the Dali Mazagran service

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