Duchesse potatoes are the Rolls Royce of mashed potatoes. Serve them along side rabbit stew or steak Diane and you will make your dinner companions feel special. The egg wash creates a thin film around the duchesse potatoes and allows them to remain soft and moist on the inside and golden or the outside.
Yields about 20
6 boiling potatoes
1 egg yolk
2 Tbs soft butter
1/2 cup warm milk
1/4 tsp white pepper
salt to taste
Make the purée: Peel, chop roughly and boil the potatoes in salted water. Drain, put back in the pot and let sit for 2 minutes, this allows some of the excess humidity to evaporate. Add the egg, butter,salt and pepper and start mashing while slowly adding the milk. Duchesse potatoes require the puree to be very fine, otherwise it will block the nozzle of you pastry bag. So you need to use a potato ricer or pass the purée through a sieve.
Preheat the oven to 235C/475F.
Bake: Place the purée in a pastry bag and pipe meringue like shapes starting from the center. In a small bowl mix the egg yolk with 1 1/2 – 2 Tbs of water and very gently drizzle it over each duchesse. Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden.
Make ahead: You can prepare the duchesse potatoes several hours before serving, keep them at room temperature covered with towel paper and gently reheat before serving. Alternatively, after piping the duchesses refrigerate them and just brush and bake before dinner.
Serve with rabbit braised in red wine, steaks or poultry.