Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Pommes Duchesse (Duchess Potatoes)

Sounds fancy and French foo-foo, non? Mais oui, bien sur! But the truth is, this classic French dish of elegant baked rosettes of creamy potatoes, which had their heyday in the haute cuisine of the '60s and '70s, is surprisingly easy to make. Julia Child, the veritable Queen of accessible French cooking, had a recipe for Pomme Duchesse in her 1970 cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking as a fluted border or decoration for dishes like Boeuf Bourguignon or Coq Au Vin. The hardest part, really, is in piping out perfectly shaped rosettes of Pomme Duchesse rather than sorry-looking blobs of mashed potatoey thingamabobs. It is traditional to pipe individual rosettes onto a baking sheet, but I prefer to pipe several smaller rosettes into individual baking/gratin dishes. The quintessential ingredients are very smooth mashed potatoes (a ricer works really well for this preparation), combined with butter, cream, egg yolks, and grated nutmeg. Julia had another version which included a little grated parmesan cheese into the mixture for extra measure. That's my fav cuz you just can't go wrong with cheesy potatoes. A great accompaniment to prime rib, steak, or anything else you'd serve mashed potatoes with. 

2 1/2 lbs. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice
6 large egg yolks (at room temperature)
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces (at room temperature)
1/2 cup heavy cream (at room temperature)
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp. black pepper
3 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400F.

2. Place the diced potatoes in a pot of salted water; bring to a boil and cook 10-15 minutes or until just cooked through (should pierce easily with a fork). Drain and return to the pot. Place the cooked potatoes through a ricer (if you don't have a ricer, mash the potatoes by hand using a fork or potato masher until very fine - no chunks). 

3. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

4. Stir in the butter, cream, seasonings, and grated parmesan. 

5. Place the mixture into a pastry bag or ziploc-type bag with one edge snipped off. Fit with a large star tip. Squeeze as much air out of the bag as possible then start piping rosettes onto a parchment-lined baking sheet or into individual baking dishes. If you screw up, just scoop up the misshapen rosette and put it back into the bag for repiping. Practice makes perfect.

6. Bake for 15 minutes or until the tops of the potatoes are golden. 

 Boil the sliced potatoes in salted water until tender.

 Place the cooked potatoes into a ricer.

 Then rice away!

 Add egg yolks, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.

 Stir in the butter...

 Then the cream...

 Then the seasonings...

 Then the grated parmesan...

 Pipe into gratin dishes and bake at 400F or until the tops are golden.


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