Thursday, October 27, 2011

Duchess Potatoes

Talk about interesting food names. You have heard these making you wonder why they are called so. Whoopie pies - a cross between a cake and a cookie - apparently leftover cake batter was used to make cakes (which were then baked in pie tins) and when they were baked farmers would exclaim 'whoopie! pies! Our own Gudbud Ice cream and a score other names of ice creams, some of which send the blood rushing to your face as you order. Strozzapreti pasta which literally translates to 'strangle the priest' (can gastronomic pleasure be this violent??!!)  Monkey bread - thankfully no real monkey in here - a very delicious bread you can monkey around with and still not mess it up - I am going to be trying this soon ! The cocktail Bloody Mary. Queen of Sheba Cake. Imambayildi - a Turkish dish of eggplant which which means the priest fainted.  Apparently the priest ate this dish and fainted, as it tasted so heavenly! Now, I wouldn't probably risk fainting if I ate something that good - I would try to be very much conscious - to hog on the dish and then blog about it!

Another interesting name here - Duchess Potatoes - The name's bound to get your attention the first it catches your eye.  This is boiled potatoes mashed and mixed with butter, seasoning and herbs, sometimes cheese, spooned into a piping bag and baked till golden & crispy on the outside and  creamy inside. Now  it would be an effort to not like it right? Now why are Duchess potatoes called so? After eating these delectable little things, I think these are called so as the humble potatoes are elevated to the status of a Duchess - the makeover an easy, simple, but remarkably sensational one.

 I remember watching Chef Sanjeev Kapoor baking a similar dish with mashed potatoes and cream . Looked really good and of course it can't not taste good as it has ingredients which can't really fail to please. I Googled for this recipe, and Duchess potatoes popped up tantalizingly on my screen. Finally took me to Nicole's Baking Bites. And I had to try these stat! As Nicole says, Duchess potatoes make a great accompaniment to any meal, will surely grab attention when you serve and leave your guests wanting more. You can add spices and herbs of your choice, cheese if feeling more indulgent and impress people with these elegant, pretty and delicious little things. So the next time you have a party, chuck the boring and predictable starters and try Duchess Potatoes - and you will become a fav hostess!

I started with the intention of halving Nicole's recipe and eventually ended up making 3/4 of it as I felt 1/2 would be a little less. Have to bake, taste and still have enough left for the pictures. You could make these with left over boiled potatoes (this happens quite often), but you would need to warm the potatoes before you add the rest of the ingredients. I would not add too much or too strong by way of flavorings, as the subtle flavor of the butter and herbs would then be lost. They taste great as is and if you have to serve them with a dip , I would keep it to a subtle creamy dip such as mayonnaise, sauce would drown the subtle flavors again.

You can find the recipe on Baking Bites here  .Here is what I did.


Potatoes - about 700 grams, 2 1/4 cup when mashed (original recipe uses 900 grams)
Butter - 6 tablespoons, plus additional for brushing (use salted or unsalted, adjust salt accordingly, 8 tbsps in the original)
Garlic powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Dried thyme - 1 teaspoon or to taste. If using fresh, you would need to use more.
Salt and pepper - to taste
Egg, whisked - 34 grams ( The original recipe calls for 1 large egg for 2 pounds, 900 grams of potatoes, I have whisked the egg, weighed and proportioned it, did not want to risk the potatoes becoming soggy)

Procedure :Preheat oven to 190 degrees C / 375 degree F. (Nicole bakes at 200 degrees C/ 400F for a shorter period). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Peel and quarter potatoes and pressure cook for one whistle. Do not over cook .Alternatively, place them in a large pot of boiling water and cook until fork tender (time will vary by size of the potatoes). Drain and put them back in the cooker (no lid of course) on low heat for a couple of minutes to dry out any excessive moisture.

Add butter and seasonings and mash potatoes well. I used a flat wooden masher for this. The point is to mash them really well without any lumps. Allow mixture to cool for 10-15 minutes, until potatoes are not hot to the touch, then mash in the egg until potatoes are smooth. The mixture will be quite firm. Adjusting seasoning and still mixing it in uniformly will be a little difficult due to this consistency.

Transfer mixture to a piping bag fitted with a large star tip. Pipe potatoes onto baking sheet to form swirling peaks,  about 2-inches across, but mine were shorter and not as gorgeous as Nicole's. Brush really gently with additional melted butter. A silicon brush is good here again. I tried using oil spray from the can, but the pressure was a bit too much for the dainty Duchess, some of them drooped! So be careful if attempting this.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve hot straight from the oven.

Making ahead : If you want make prior preparation for this, boil the potatoes and refrigerate. Warm them in the microwave and carry on with the rest of the procedure. I refrigerated some of the mixture for hubby (with everything added) it firmed up a lot in the fridge, making it difficult to pipe out. I warmed the mixture in the microwave and piped again, the swirls were not as stiff and drooped as they baked, but delicious still. So you could very safely try these out and you will love them whatever shape they take.

The above quantity will be enough for 6 people to eat delicately, 4 if you want to be ahem... greedy. Now I won't tell you which of these we did between me, hubby and the kids, a tiny bit sneaked out for my neighbor.

Have you baked these and has something worked really well for you? I would like to know as I very very certainly am going to be baking these again. Care to share any interesting or amusing food names?


Rachana said...

Wow! They look so pretty :-)

Tina said...

Gr8 recipe dear..baked potatoes looks cute and lovely..

Sushma said...

That looks so beautiful..

Hari Chandana P said...

Looks so cute and delicious.. thanks for sharing :)
Indian Cuisine

Simplyfood said...

Perfectly made and delicious too.

Priya Suresh said...

I usually buy frozen duchesse, happy to see urs, cant wait to try at home..

Sum said...

Lovely loooking, Suma... But how do i make them eggless??? :(((( I dont think flax egg and all work here... any ideas?? Would love to know as we are all potato fans :D

Suma Rowjee said...

@Sum - Cornstarch probably? Let me know if u try, an egg less version would be great!

chef and her kitchen said...

very new 2 me...sounds n looks very nice

Deeba PAB said...

This is something I would LOVE to bake soon. Delicious is the word...wish I was the neighbour who got a few! Bookmarked Suma!!

Anonymous said...

hmmm...looks yummy n maybe cooking is not so boring afterall,if it turns out like this!