Tuesday, January 29, 2008

And the answer is: Gâteau de Pommes de Terre



Some of you participated in my latest guessing game, but no one got the answer exactly right.

Spacedlaw came pretty close, though, with the suggestion that it looked like a soufflé but could be hachis parmentier, which is similar to the British specialty shepherd's pie. And I'm blogging this at 6:15 am, so you're not going to get any American equivalents of the dish -- this is all I know.

As you can see from the extract above from Les Recettes Faciles de Françoise Bernard -- my precious copy of the book, with the little plus mark at the bottom to indicate "this was good" -- the recipe's name is "Gâteau de pommes de terre."

Since this is not exactly a famous French classic, and no one would look under "gâteau" for a potato recipe, the book cleverly files the recipe under "Pommes de terre (gâteau de)" -- which I somehow find quite charming.

Although it seems like an oxymoron, I'd describe the dish as a potato soufflé -- I'm not sure where the idea of "gâteau" came from as there's nothing cake-like about it.

Rather than start with a bechamel sauce, the base of the dish is mashed potatoes, to which you add 2 egg yolks, two beaten egg whites, and grated cheese.

I usually bake it a little longer than the suggested 25 to 30 minutes to get a cheesy, golden crust over the top. And while separating the eggs and beating the whites sounds like kind of a pain for an everyday dish, I highly suggest keeping this step. I skipped it once and the result was, umm, very compact.

If you can't decipher the recipe above, this version of "Potato soufflé" looks similar and maybe even better. Cream instead of milk! Chives added! I'll have to check it out...

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm just curious... What kind of cheese is used in this dish?
Also, your last words about a similar recipe reminded me of a baked potato. Would sour cream our bacon bits be an appropriate topping for this dish?
Thanks

winedeb said...

I figured, like quite a few others, that it was a potato dish...but not sure which one. I am always up for a potato dish as they are so satisfying! ( I like how you mark your cookbook! )
Recipe sounds yummy! I look forward to your next tidbit!

Betty C. said...

Anonymous -- I used plain grated gruyère, but any cheese that could be grated or crumbled would be delicious.

Sure, sour cream and chives would taste good on this dish!

spacedlaw said...

In Italy, we add diced ham (cooked ham) and mozzarella to this type of dish.

Betty C. said...

spacedlaw, I'm sure mozzarella would be great...now I'm getting all sorts of ideas to vary this recipe.

Lisa said...

Hey—this is fantastic, I must make it ASAP! I also find the way the recipe is "filed" charming. What a great book that must be.

Looking forward to more mystery dishes.

Lisa said...

Oh—and I love the "servez tout de suite" in the recipe. I know; it's just French, but I get a kick out of it.

My Inner French Girl said...

Bonjour, Betty! Okay, I'm going to have to try this dish. You've combined all of my favorite ingredients: potatoes and lots of dairy!

I'm going to try Parmesan, as that's all I have at the moment. Merci for the recipe!

Salut,
Marjorie

eleonora said...

C'est toujours bon, un gâteau de pommes de terre. Je vais être en congés durant une semaine..je te souhaite un bon week-end et à bientôt.

Colleen said...

The first thing that came to mind when I read your title was Johnny Carson. Do you remember when he would put on that genie hat and say, " The answer is....."

Do you have a genie hat too?

Betty C. said...

Colleen, I wish I had a genie hat...and I wish I had more answers!

katiez said...

I've tried something similar - out of one of my French books, but it didn't look or sound this good... Maybe on the weekend...

Betty C. said...

Katie -- Thanks for your comment! I've been kind of behind on commenting on people's blogs, especially the cooking ones. I'll get by yours this week for sure.

Eric B said...

Bonjour,

Ca me rappelle des souvenirs d'enfance, ce livre de Françoise Bernard! C'est avec lui que j'ai fait mes premières recettes ;o)
Ca fait plus de 20 ans que je ne l'avais vu... Nostalgie.

Betty C. said...

Eric , c'est ce livre et un abonnement à Cuisine Actuelle (dès le premier numéro en 1990) qui ont commencé à m'aider à apprendre la cuisine familiale française. Souvenirs aussi...