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[Modernist Cuisine] Pommes Pont-Neuf (3•323, 6•160), Pommes Soufflees (4•306, 6•343)


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I believe that steps 6 and 7 in the Pommes Pont-Neuf recipe should be interchanged. That is, the second, optional vacuum cooling step or air cooling should follow, and not proceed, the blanching step.

What I was trying to do was to improve on the traditional recipe for Pommes Soufflees, which I hadn't made for close to 50 years, by adapting the triple-cooking Pommes Pont-Neuf recipe of Heston Blumenthal.

I sliced the potatoes (and my ring finger!), and trimmed the slices into nice ovals, and boiled them for 20 minutes as directed, but with the thin slices they did indeed fall apart, so I gave up and followed the original recipe. Roughly a third of them ballooned nicely, but the others just puffed slightly, even though they were a uniform thickness, and cut from the same potato.

I was using a Zyliss slicer, because I'd mislaid the straight blade for my de Beyer mandolin. The Zyliss slicer was set on the middle position, which appears to be about 2 mm, rather than the 3mm thickness called for in the recipe.

I would have thought that the thicker slice would make it more difficult for the chip to balloon, but maybe it needs the extra starch to make it pop?

Potatoes are cheap enough to try it again with different thicknesses, with and without the par-boiling and vacuum drying step, and I also want to try it with sweet potatoes, and with crinkle chips.

Anyone else tried this? Any advice?

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  • 4 months later...

Hi, I tried this recipe twice with about the same results... my potatoes are just not puffing up. I tried with a new potato, which totally didn't work, but it did make for nice crisps... and i also took a regular idaho potato and since it was fresh, i stuck it in the dehydrator whole overnight... maybe it lost a little bit of moisture, but perhaps not enough... The first try i had the same shape as in the recipe, but for the second try, i tried rectangles. I'm pretty sure my mandolin was slicing at the necessary 3.5mm so i'm not sure what went wrong. 

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  • 7 months later...

You might notice in my photo of my attempt at this recipe from a while back, that my potatoes were somewhat dark. I always wondered why it was that sometimes i would fry potatoes and get really dark bitter results (or at least potatoes that would darken rapidly, before even being properly cooked) and yet at other times, i got the nice golden color that one ought to expect, even after many minutes in the oil. I came across this article the other day and so I have learned something completely new, which is don't refrigerate your potatoes if you want to ever fry them, because of cold induced sweetening caused by the vacuolar invertase gene. The article is about the suppression of the gene by some really smart scientists, so that you can keep potatoes fresh in the fridge, and not have the sweetening. I guess until their potatoes are on the grocery store shelves, though, if you want fries without lots of acrylamide, then I suppose you ought to keep them in a dark cabinet at room temperature for now. This may have been discussed in MC, for all I know, but I haven't gotten to that page as of yet. O:-) One further observation is this: I had a non-refrigerated microwaved baked potato today, after years of having the refrigerated ones. I like the sweeter taste of refrigerated potatoes cooked that way. So I suppose if I were just baking, microwaving, mashing etc., then I'd be okay with refrigeration, because the potatoes are a little sweeter, and they keep longer. For frying, or anything with a high enough temperature to start to burn that sugar, I suppose there is the drawer or dark cabinet. 

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  • 5 years later...
On 9/25/2011 at 9:28 AM, Anonymous Modernist 347 said:

...and boiled them for 20 minutes as directed, but with the thin slices they did indeed fall apart...

Anyone else tried this? Any advice?

 

I recently posted my experience with pomme soufflée which may be of interest: 

 

I also was thinking of trying pomme soufflée with parboiled potatoes, but rather than boiling them with baking soda as suggested in the recipe, use vinegar as suggested by J. Kenji López-Alt: http://aht.seriouseats.com/2010/05/the-burger-lab-how-to-make-perfect-mcdonalds-style-french-fries.html The vinegar is supposed to prevent the potato from falling apart:

"... those boiled in the vinegared water remained perfectly intact, even after boiling for a full ten minutes. When fried, they had fabulously crisp crusts with tiny, bubbly, blistered surfaces that stayed crisp even when they were completely cool".

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