Duchess Potatoes (Pommes Duchesse)
The name may sound fancy, but pomme duchesse are simply baked mashed potato balls. As a kid, I think it was my favorite side dish. It's crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, and just oozes potato-ey goodness.
Not only is it a perfect dish for formal events, but it dresses down as well. Halloween is on its way, and the girls and I have been planning to make some edible ghosts for a Halloween party the girls are attending. Mashed potatoes seemed like the obvious choice. Since I had some pommes duchesse mixture on hand, we decided to test our decorating skills today. I piped the pommes duchesse mixture into several cones. The girls added eyes by using mustard seeds and cumin seeds for the eyebrows. The result is ghoulishly delicious. Sorry, I couldn't resist!
Yields: 8 servings4 Russet potatoes, about 2 pounds
7 tablespoons butter, diced
7 tablespoons heavy cream
4 egg yolks
4 tablespoons bread crumbs (see tips)
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dill, finely chopped, + extra for garnish
2 teaspoons French tarragon, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic chives, finely snipped
1/2 teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
Peel the potatoes and place them in a pot. Fill it with cold water until the potatoes are barely covered. Bring to a boil, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt; and reduce the heat to medium-high. Cook for about 20-23 minutes. The potatoes should be fork-tender. Remove from the pot. Drain the potatoes and let them cool. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, mash them, using a potato masher. Add butter.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a mixing bowl, beat 3 egg yolks with sugar for about 2-3 minutes. You'll get a pale yellow foam and the texture of the egg yolk will be slightly denser. Add nutmeg.
Add the egg yolks to the mashed potatoes. Add the herbs, bread crumbs and 6 tablespoons of heavy cream. Mix well using food service disposable gloves. Season with salt and pepper.
Put the mashed potato mixture into a piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe immediately into smaller golf-ball-size shapes, 2 inches apart, onto parchment-lined sheet pans.
Beat the remaining egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of heavy cream using a fork. Lightly brush the egg wash over the potatoes. Make sure to coat the entire outer surface.
Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375°F and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown. At the end, if they are not golden brown enough, change setting to broil for 2 minutes or until the potatoes are nicely browned. Immediately remove the pommes duchesse from the oven.
Serve immediately. Garnish with dill.
For the breadcrumbs, I usually grind a stale baguette into fine powder, using a mortar and pestle or a mini-food processor.
I used russet potatoes because they are starchier. Yukon golds are also good potatoes for this dish.
I've tried omitting the egg yolks in the potato mixture; the texture isn't as firm but I guess if you have any allergy issues, it should work fine. You can also skip the step with the egg wash and brush the pommes duchesse with only heavy cream (or milk for a healthier version). The egg wash gives a finished golden look and shine to the potatoes.
For a vegan version, you can also substitute with soy creamer and vegetable butter.
I love piping with a round tip. Check out my cardamom spritz cookies dipped in pink mint chocolate. It's also perfect for making other savory dishes such as gougères and sweet treats such as pâte à choux, chouquettes and éclairs.
I got inspired to make potato ghosts for Halloween by an article in Gourmet magazine.
Pommes duchesse are perfect with steamed fish en papillote or even a rack of lamb.
Published By: on October 11, 2009.