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fambrough

Looking for the perfect pommes souffle

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Can anyone direct me to a foolproof, or detailed procedure for the execution of pommes souffle?

I have been experimenting with width cut, oil temperatures, time between frying low temp and high temp, cooling between frying.

I have not found a method yet that gets me the perfect, puffed pommes souffle every time.

Thanks in advance for any help or direction.

Ben

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A number of years ago I remember Food Arts Magazine had an excellent piece with precise directions for pommes souffle. I can't seem to find it. Does anyone have a copy?

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For what it's worth, here's the final paragraph from the headnote to the soufflé potatoes recipe in my tattered old edition of the Joy of Cooking, which relates the probably apocryphal story of the dish's invention. Louis XIV was delayed by bad weather. His cook was able to keep all of the royal dinner warm except the fried potatoes. The king's arrival was announced. In a fit of desperation, the cook plunged the cold fries back into the bubbling fat and, voilà, the dish that made him famous. Among the coincidences:

His potatoes must have been old, so that the starch content was just right to make them puff. He must have had a very systematic apprentice who cut the potatoes all with the grain and to a very uniform thickness ... In his relief at having something to serve, he evidently didn't mind a 10% failure, for even experts who make these daily count on that great a percentage of duds. ... The duds, by the way, are edible as good French fries, if not as glamorous as the puffs.

I'd be delighted with a 10% failure rate, by the way. The few times I've made them, mine's been in the 30-40% range.

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here's what jacques pepin says about them in Complete Techniques

If the potatoes have too much moisture, as new potatoes often have, they will not puff.  If they are soft and marbled, as old potatoes frequently are, they will not puff either.  Often 15 to 20 percent of any one batch stays flat.  In restaurants, the flat ones are served to the help as regular fried potatoes.

basically, after cutting them uniformly to 1/4 to 3/8 inch slices, washing, and drying well, he says to:

1. deep fry them at 325 (while shaking the pan--!!) till they come to the surface and are blistered, then for one minute more

2. let soften for a few seconds, then directly into 375 degree fryer, which should puff up the ones that will puff.

interestingly, he says that you can pull them out at this point before they've browned, and set them aside, drained, to keep for several hours. then you can take the successful ones that puffed up and re-fry them at 375 yet again to brown them at serving time.


Edited by mrbigjas (log)

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Jacques Pepin's recipe for Pommes de Terre Soufflees is also included in Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home.

SB (hasn't had the nerve to try it) :huh:

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Interesting. So even the great Pepin says to expect renegade slices not to puff!

I don't feel so bad now. We have had our best sucess with going straight from one oil to the other, but still, moderate success with a period of cooling in between. The help and I sure enjoyed some of the flat ones...Alas, they just ain't the same.

Cheers,

Ben

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Years ago I tried them and only got one or two to puff. I understand you MUST use a mandoline for slicing, and I didn't own one at the time. Probably, I'd never even heard of one.


Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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