If these Duchess Potatoes aren’t entertaining-worthy, I don’t know what is! Best of all, they are simple to make. If you can make mashed potatoes, you can make Duchess Potatoes.
The origin of Duchess Potatoes is French, but the story of how they came to be is relatively unknown. They are thought to have been made for a British duchess who visited France. This story sounds good to me—I thought they might have been British when I first heard about Duchess Potatoes!
Since I made Roasted Garlic Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes for Thanksgiving, I wanted to change things up for Christmas dinner. These were the perfect choice, and accompanied the Herb Roasted Prime Rib really nicely.
I started by making basic mashed potatoes: Yukon Gold potatoes, a splash of cream, butter, and salt. I didn’t add quite as much cream as usual (I like my mashed potatoes really creamy) because we want fairly stiff mashed potatoes here. I added egg yolks and nutmeg to the mashed potatoes per French tradition. Then I used a piping bag fitted with a star tip to pipe them onto a sheet pan.
You have several options for piping the potatoes. A regular gallon-sized zip-top bag works great for the piping bag if you don’t have an official decorator’s piping bag. I do suggest getting a star tip (this is a great set) to create the beautiful swirls on the top of the Duchess Potatoes. Plus, the more surface area of the potato, the more chances there are for it to brown lightly in the oven! Crispy potatoes = delicious potatoes.
If you opt to skip a star tip, you can cut a ½ inch hole in a gallon-sized zip-top bag and use that to pipe the potatoes onto the sheet pan. The end result won’t be quite as elegant, but it will still taste delicious. You could also pour the potatoes in a 13×9 inch baking dish and use a spatula to create swirls on top, creating one gigantic Duchess Potato.
To ensure the tops of the potatoes get brown in the oven, we need two things. The first is a relatively hot oven set to 400°F. The second is an egg wash. The combination will ensure you get crispy tips on the top of those potatoes!
I served these Duchess Potatoes as part of a Christmas dinner with my friend Kelley of Haviland Events. She supplied the decor and Christmas china for our dinner. She has a knack for creating gorgeous table settings (she’s a wedding and event planner), and this one was no exception.
And get this: Kelley’s mom gave her a place setting of china every year for Christmas since she was 10. When she graduated college, she had 12 sets of this adorable Christmas china. How genius is that? It must have been pretty clear to Kelley’s mom that hospitality and entertaining would run in her family. I need to do this with my future children!
The placemats were provided by the enormously talented Liz of EJD Design. She custom drew them to fit the plates and cups, and has created them for weddings, too. How amazing would something like these be on the head table?
I served the Duchess Potatoes with the following dishes for Christmas dinner:
Herb Roasted Prime Rib
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta and Hazelnuts
Muffin Tin Popovers with Cheddar and Thyme
Boozy Caramel Eggnog Pie
Yield 6–8 servings
- 2½ lbs Yukon Gold potatoes
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 3 egg yolks
- ¼ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- Peel the potatoes and cut into 1 inch cubes. Place in a saucepan and add water to cover the potatoes. Place on the stovetop over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let cook for 15–20 minutes, or until the potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Drain the potatoes and place them in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the butter. Mix on low until potatoes are mashed and creamy (be careful not to overmix or they will get glue-like). Add the egg yolks, whipping cream, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Mix until just combined. Let sit for 30 minutes to cool.
- Prepare a large sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
- Once the potatoes are cool, place them in a piping bag fitted with a star tip. Pipe the potatoes into 3 inch circles, swirling the piping bag to create a mound of potatoes. Brush the tops of the potatoes with the egg wash. Bake for 20–25 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Serve immediately.
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