Duchess (or duchesse) potatoes are mashed potatoes pureed with egg yolks, whole eggs, or a combination of whole eggs and egg yolks, and butter.
Cheese, seasonings, and other flavorings are sometimes added.
The fluffy pureed mixture is served as a side dish, formed into small shapes or piped from a pastry bag for a decorative accompaniment, or formed into borders for serving other dishes inside. The amount of egg and other ingredient varies per individual recipe.
Dishes garnished with duchess potatoes are called à la duchesse. The French term for duchess potatoes is pommes duchesse.
Duchess potatoes can be used to top a casserole, and they go great with steak or beef Wellington. When shapes are used, they are typically piped onto a baking sheet to be baked in the oven before serving.
The term à la duchesse may also refer to a dish containing tongue and mushrooms in a Bechamel sauce, or to various pastries containing an almond mixture, as well as to other baked filled items.
Basic Duchess Potatoes Recipe
2 large Russet potatoes
1 whole egg, beaten
2 tbs butter
salt and black pepper to taste
pinch of grated nutmeg (optional)
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk
Peel the potatoes and cut into two-inch pieces. Place the potato pieces into a pan of cold salted water and then boil until the potatoes are tender (never place potatoes in boiling water…always start cold).
When fork tender, drain the potatoes and mash just as you would for mashed potatoes.
Add the beaten egg, butter, salt, pepper and nutmeg (if desired) to the potatoes and mix well. Avoid overmixing or the potatoes will become pasty.
Use the mixture as desired. For baking shapes, make an egg wash by mixing the egg yolks with the milk. Fit a star nozzle onto a piping bag and fill with potato mixture. Pile whirls of potato onto a greased baking sheet (or use parchment paper or silicone baking sheets). If you don’t have a piping bag then use a spoon to make any small shapes you desire. Brush the potato shapes wit the egg wash, then brush lightly with the melted butter.
Bake in a 350 oven for 20 to 30 minutes until potatoes are lightly browned.
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