June 03, 2011

Pommes Duchesse

It sounds like something a French monarch would eat, but it's actually just humble mashed potatoes piped into pretty shapes and baked. I don't know the origin of its name but I'm guessing some snooty chef just wanted to impress people with his culinary mumbo jumbo (you know, like those people who say "potentiality" instead of "potential"?). My take on this is subversive because I cheat. A lot, as you will see.

This is so simple that I don't think a recipe is necessary. But here are really vague instructions anyway! Make mashed potatoes -- you can do this the hard way, or the Janelle way! Instead of boiling it in salted water for 30 mins, I pricked holes all over the spuds, placed them in a Micromax and nuked them for 5 mins. Mash them like crazy and add lots of butter (it will help give a smoother texture) and a pinch of salt. Add an egg per two potatoes. You should also puree the mashed potatoes to make sure there are no chunks, as they can get stuck inside the piping tip.

But if you're very, very hungry like I was, you can go ahead and skip that. Just shape the potatoes into large-ish balls and use a cake decorator to decorate the sides. Mine isn't particularly pretty, but at that point, I was just so hungry that I wanted to put it in the oven and get it over with. For the more patient, pipe the pureed potatoes into spiral mounds with a star piping tip.

Before chucking it in the oven, brush the whole thing with egg wash. You can do this either by mixing egg yolk with 2 tbsps water or with 2 tbsps milk per yolk. Using water will give you a golden finish while using milk will give you a darker, browner finish. Bake at 375 degrees F or until the crust browns; be careful not to overbake.

PS. The brown flecks scattered all over the baking tray? Yup, crumbled bacon. Because everything tastes better with bacon.

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