In German cuisine, duchess potatoes are a traditional way to use up leftover potato puree. I don’t think my mother ever made them with intention. Instead, she just saw a large pot full of leftover potato mash that she thickened with egg yolk and maybe some flour and then piped into small mounds.
That being said, I love duchess potatoes. They are lighter in texture than potato puree and go great with anything saucy. But like almost all potato side dishes of German cuisine, they require some effort to make. Nevertheless, they taste so much better than any plain boiled potato will ever do.
The Building Blocks of German Cusine Series
This article is part of my basics series, which will introduce you to key ingredients and preparation methods. You can find all these articles in the ‘Basics’ category of this blog. Listed below are the articles that have yet been published in this series:
- French Fries (‘Pommes frites’)
- Swabian Pretzels (‘Schwäbische Laugenbrezeln’)
- Kratzete, Eierhaber
- Duchess Potatoes (‘Herzoginnenkartoffeln’)
- Ribbon Noodles (‘Bandnudeln’)
- Muesli (‘Müsli’)
- Breakfast Bread Rolls (‘Weizenbrötchen’)
- Potato Puree (‘Kartoffelbrei’)
- German Potato Dumplings Bavaria-style (‘Bayerische Kartoffelknödel’)
- German Potato Dumplings Thuringia-style (‘Thüringer Kartoffelklöse’)
- German Bread Dumplings (‘Semmelknödel’)
- German Potato Pancakes (‘Reibekuchen’)
- Potato Noodles (‘Schupfnudeln’)
- German Boiled Potatoes (‘Kartoffeln’)
- Homemade Beef broth (‘Fleischbrühe’)
- German Pancakes (‘Pfannkuchen’)
- Homemade Semolina Soup Noodles (‘Hartweizen-Suppennudeln’)
- Chicken Broth (‘Hühnerbrühe’)
- Spaetzle (‘Spätzle’)
The proper way to cook your potatoes
It’s hopefully no news for all of my regular blog readers that you need to cook the potatoes skin-on. Cutting them into small chunks before cooking will make them watery and dilute the taste. If you are pressured on time, use a pressure cooker.
The potatoes need to be peeled and passed through the potato ricer while still hot. A potato masher is no option here. You need a smooth potato puree. If there are any chunks left, you won’t be able to pipe the puree through the grommet.
The puree should neither be too runny nor too firm. You want the duchess potatoes to melt in your mouth. But if the batter is too soft, they might lose their shape while baking. Be very conscious of the amount of milk you add and only use the egg yolks as specified.
Use a high-quality piping bag with a large star point for the most picturesque duchess potatoes
If you want to make your life a little easier, and your duchess potatoes more beautiful, I recommend you to use a high-quality piping bag. I used a throwaway piping bag made out of cheap plastic for this recipe. It worked but the process is no pleasure.
I personally don’t mind so much about browning the duchess potatoes in the oven. If you want them to develop a darker crust, you can brush them with egg wash before baking. That’s the fancy way to prepare them.