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“Pommes soufflées” means roughly “inflated potatoes”:

Image of pommes soufflées

I've tried various recipes with very little success. I suspect the real issue is the exact choice of thickness and temperature. This page is currently a list of my failures and what I learnt from them.

Ingredients

quantity       ingredient       step
      Potatoes       1

Preparation

Saturday, 7 April 2012

We have a recipe from Bocuse's “La Cuisine du Marché”, in which he writes (my translation and abridgement):

Use Dutch potatoes if possible. Cut them lengthwise in slices 3 mm thick.

For frying, it is indispensable to have two friteuses, one used for the first part of the cooking, and the other for the second part, to make them blow up.

Heat the first friteuse to 180°. Fry the slices a few at a time for 6 to 7 minutes, by which time they will still be pale, but cooked and starting to float to the surface. Take them, let them drip and put them int the second bath, which is smoking hot at 190°.

So we did that. Things are easier nowadays: thermostatically controlled friteuses, rotary slicer. But things didn't quite work out that way. At 180°, the thin slices were cooked in no time. Clearly the temperature was too high (“pluck a number out of the air”?). So I lowered the temperature to 160° and continued.

But even then things didn't work the way I wanted. I think the slices were already too dry when they came into the second friteuse, and only a couple blew up, and that not very well:


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While I was doing that, Chris noticed that some of the potatoes I had forgot in the first friteuse were also blowing up. Somehow the whole thing didn't work as expected.

What went wrong? My guess is that it's typical cook's guesswork. Cook something, get it to work, then guess what you did. I suspect that the 3 mm is too thin, the 180° are clearly too high, and possibly the choice of potato is more important than just “Dutch if possible”. We'll try again some time. It's not difficult to do.

Monday, 9 April 2012

This time I made them thicker (5 mm instead of 3) and paid more attention to the first cooking, the one where Bocuse had asked for oil at 180°. That was clearly too hot, and others had asked for 150°. Tried to set the friteuse to that temperature (off the low end of the scale), and ended up with temperatures closer to 170°. So the friteuse is inaccurate in its temperatures—it wouldn't be the first one. Finally got 150° (it looked more like 140° off the scale), and indeed I was able to fry for 5 minutes, by which time they were cooked but not substantially browned. So far so good. But in the second bath (closer to 195° than 190°) they still didn't blow up. Maybe I should have stuck to 3 mm thickness; that's the parameter I'll vary next time, anyway.


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