Heston’s Pommes Puree
With Heston Blumenthal cooking is a science and within his inquisitive mind, he’s able to coax the absolute best of flavours from every ingredient. Even the simple art of making mashed potatoes becomes an exercise in scientific extraction. In his restaurant, he parboils the potatoes first, and then cooks them in a stock made from the peels. The recipe-of-the-week is a simplified version of this dish.
As Heston explains “I prefer using waxy potatoes for mash, as they tend to produce a more creamy result, although, if you are not careful, the purée may be a little starchy. As a general rule, most of the red varieties make a decent purée; large belle de fontenay or charlotte potatoes will also give a good result.”
“The important thing here is the first cooking of the potatoes. This involves precooking them at a temperature where the starch begins to gelatinise, cooling them down, then cooking them in hotter water, which allows the cells to separate from one another. This means you can mash the potatoes without any free starch leaking out of them, giving you a glue-free purée. You will need a thermometer for this recipe.”
1kg charlotte potatoes
300g cold butter, cut into cubes
warm milk, to taste
- Peel the potatoes and cut them into 2.5cm (1in) slices. Run the slices under cold water to wash off surface starch.
- Heat a large pan of water until it reaches a temperature of 80°C (you’ll need to use a good-quality heat thermometer, with the probe placed in the water. Add the potatoes and simmer for half an hour being careful to maintain the temperature at 70°C. Drain the potato slices and run them under cold water until completely cool.
- Rinse the pan and refill with cold water. Salt the water and bring it to the boil, then lower to a simmer. Add the cooked, cooled potatoes and cook until soft. Drain the potatoes, then place them back in the pan. Shake the pan over a gentle heat to get rid of any remaining water.
- Tip the potatoes into a ricer and rice the potatoes over a bowl containing the cold butter. Push the buttery riced potatoes through a fine-meshed drum sieve for a silky, light texture. You can prepare the purée in advance up to this stage and store it in the fridge.
- To serve, reheat it gently in a pan, while gradually whisking in a little warm milk.
For more of Heston’s potato recipes …. Click Here
Wickedfood Cooking School runs cooking classes throughout the year at its purpose-built Johannesburg cooking studios. Cookery classes are run in the mornings and evenings 7 days a week (subject to a minimum of 12 people). The venue is also popular for corporate events and private functions – team building cooking classes, birthdays, kitchen teas, and dinner parties with a difference.
Our cooking lessons are hands-on, where every person gets to participate in the preparation of the dishes. They are also a lot of fun where you not only learn new skills, but get to meet people with similar interests. For corporate groups and teambuilding cooking classes these events are a novel way of creating staff interaction or entertaining clients.