Potato Pure

Potato purée is an important product in most kitchens, even though it is not served as is. It is the basis of many popular preparations,including mashed or whipped potatoes, duchesse potatoes, and potato croquettes. (Please note that this usage of the term is different from classic European usage,where purée de pommes de terre means mashed or whipped potatoes.)

Starchy potatoes are usually used for purées.The flesh of starchy potatoes breaks apart easily and can absorb large quantities of butter,milk,and other enriching ingredients. Moderately waxy potatoes can also be puréed. The flesh doesn't break apart as eas-ily,however, so they are harder to purée. Also, they don't absorb as much fat or liquid.

Avoid excessive mixing of potato purée.Too much whipping or mixing damages cell walls, releasing excess starch that makes the purée gluey in texture.

Following is the basic procedure for making potato purées.

Procedure for Making Potato Purée_

1. Select starchy or moderately waxy potatoes.

2. Wash, peel, and eye carefully.

3. Cut into uniform sizes for even cooking.

4. Simmer or steam until tender. Potatoes for purée must be thoroughly cooked, or the purée will be grainy. But they must not be overcooked, or they will be watery.

5. Drain in a colander (if simmered). Set the colander on a sheet pan and place in an oven for several minutes to dry out the potatoes. If potatoes are too moist, they will be too loose or slack when liquid is added later.

6. While the potatoes are still hot, pass them through a food mill or ricer to purée. A mixer with the paddle attachment may be used to break up the potatoes for whipped potatoes, but there is no guarantee that it will remove all lumps.

Equipment used for puréeing should not be cold, or it will cool the potatoes too much. Heat equipment under hot water before use.

7. Add ingredients to the purée as indicated in the individual recipe. Avoid excessive mixing in order to prevent glueyness.

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