Pommes Dauphine

Country of origin: France

Pommes dauphine (little dolphin princesses, I like to think) are little potato dumplings – but with a difference. When you bite into one, you go through the crispy outer shell with soft airy potato inside. They are a more sophisticated cousin of the potato croquette, and a bit more exciting than pommes duchesse, which just has egg added to mashed potato. So what’s in them? Mashed potato mixed with choux pastry, formed into little balls and deep fried.

Sadly I ate them all, plain, as they were cooked, but they would be a delicious accompaniment with meat, fish, nut loaf or vegetables, and a sauce.

This recipe was very easy to follow and made about 16 small dauphines. The recipe forms the dauphines with two tablespoons of mixture, but my deep fryer is far too small to cook that size properly, so I made mini-sized ones, using about a teaspoon of mixture. Also, be very careful as you get to the end of the frying time, they have a tendency to burst if cooked too long:

I think you could also make dauphines from sweet potatoes, celeriac or parsnip, ensuring that as much moisture is removed when cooking them. Maybe this is dangerous territory, but I’m also thinking pumpkin, a bit of cinnamon and sugar in the choux…Thanksgiving dauphines?

Tips:

– After forming the mixture of mashed potato and choux pastry, put in the freezer for fifteen minutes or so, to firm it up; it will be easier to form into balls for the frying.

– Flour the palms of your hands when forming the dauphines, it will stop the pastry sticking to you.

– Use the first dauphine as a check for your temperature and seasoning. You want them golden brown and cooked through.

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