Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook, Giveaway and Recipe: Duchess Potatoes

And the winner is . . .
Thanks to everyone who entered my drawing for the Unofficial Downton Abbey Cookbook. chose #7, so Ellen you are my winner.  I will be in touch and get your book in the mail as soon as possible. 


About a year and a half ago my English friends started talking about a new television program that had taken their country by storm called Downton Abbey.  Feeling like I was missing man walk on the moon, I searched high and low and found it on PBS online.  It just so happened that my husband and son were both gone this particular weekend and my daughter was at university, so being just a little bit lonely and bored, I piled up in bed with my dog, my computer and the Crawleys.

Well long story short,  about the time that the first episode was over I was hooked.  I mean what woman wouldn't  be totally captivated by a period drama with a story line featuring a beautiful young virginal unmarried aristocratic woman who finds herself with a very handsome and very dead Turkish man in her bed in Edwardian England?  Yikes!

The rest of the day and night was spent watching the entire 1st season of Downton Abbey which I soon discovered wasn't nearly long enough.  I was totally bummed to find out that the entire season was only 6 hours long, leaving me dying to find out what was to happen next. The upside of my discovery was that since I had found out about it so late I didn't have long to wait for the beginning of the 2nd season, which while not quite as good as the first, did not disappoint.

My friends in England have just watched the 3rd season.  Here in America we will have to wait until January for the new season to start and I am so proud of myself that I have not asked one question about what is going on with Lady Mary and Matthew or Lady Sybil and her Irish chauffeur husband, or anything else for that matter.  I have even avoided any spoiler articles about what happens as not to ruin any surprises when it starts here. 

In the interim I was asked by Barb of Creative Culinary if I would like to join her in reviewing a cookbook with a Downton Abbey theme, and to satisfy my craving I quickly agreed.  Full of recipes similar to those that would have been enjoyed by people who lived during this time, this book is a fun romp through an Edwardian kitchen.   So what if there's a reference or two to instant pudding?  The recipes are also accented with footnotes and etiquette lessons from the day which are both fun and fascinating.

Since I always end each post with a recipe, I flipped through this book until I came upon a recipe that I thought would properly represent its theme.  I also wanted to find a dish that wasn't unnecessarily fussy but still dressy enough that Lady Grantham herself would be pleased to see it on her Thanksgiving table (she is American after all).

I finally decided upon Duchess Potatoes, which I learned through the footnote at the bottom of the recipe is credited to influential chef of the time, Georges Auguste Escoffier.  These fancy little potato rosettes  are really just little more than twice baked potatoes all dolled up.  They are fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside, and totally worthy to serve the Lord or Lady of the manor, or even a bunch of out-of-town relatives at the holidays.  To see what recipe Barb made from this book, please click here to visit her site.

Decadent Duchess Potatoes

I found a couple of mistakes in this recipe so if you win this book you may have to refer back to this post if you are confused.  I have taken a few liberties here, but I can guarantee you that your potatoes will turn out great.

2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks (all I had was russets which worked well)
1/3 cup heavy or whipping cream
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon white pepper (I cut this in half which seemed like plenty for my taste)
3 large egg yolks

Place potatoes in a large pot and cover with salted cold water.  Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

Melt the butter; set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

When the potatoes are cooked, drain and place potatoes back in the pot over low heat.  Allow them to release steam, then add 4 tablespoons of the melted butter and the cream mash until the butter is incorporated (I did this step with my electric mixer and whipped the potatoes until they were fluffy). Thoroughly mix in the cheese, nutmeg, salt and white pepper.  Finally mix in the egg yolks quickly.

Using a piping bag with a large star tip (I used a Wilton 1m), pipe the potatoes onto a non-stick cookie sheet in a spiral pattern which resembles a small ice cream swirl.  Drizzle the rosettes with the remaining melted butter.  Bake the potatoes for approximately 30 minutes or until heated through. 

If necessary to brown the potatoes, place the cookie sheet under the broiler and watching carefully, broil until the tops are golden brown.  Serve while hot.

Makes approximately 16 - 18 small rosettes which serves about 8 people.

I have been given an extra copy of this book to give away to one of my readers.  Since they mailed both of my books directly to me and I can send it anywhere I want, I am opening this giveaway to my readers here in the States, or in Canada or Europe.   The usual rules apply.  You must be a public follower of my blog and you can earn extra entries by signing up to follow me on Twitter, Facebook or sign up to receive my posts through your e-mail.  To do this just plug your e-mail address in the field which can be found at the upper right hand side of this page.  Be sure and leave a separate comment for each.  I will choose my winner on the morning of December 1st.  Good luck!

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