Mastering creamy pureed potatoes, no fat required
By SCOTT HEIMENDINGER The Associated Press April 17, 2013 4:26PM
In this image taken on April 15, 2013, dairy-free modernist mashed potatoes are shown served on a plate in Concord, N.H. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
MODERNIST POTATO PUREE
As with most modernist recipes, accuracy is key. We’ve provided volume equivalents of most ingredients, but for best results use a digital scale and weigh things out. Diastatic malt powder is the secret to making these dairy-free pureed potatoes smooth and creamy. It is widely available online, as well as at brewing supply shops.
Start to finish: 2 hours
Makes 4 cups 2 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes 30 grams (2 tablespoons) salt, plus additional for seasoning 20 grams (1 1/3 tablespoons) sugar 10 grams (1 tablespoon) diastatic malt powder
Makes 4 cups
2 1/2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes
30 grams (2 tablespoons) salt, plus additional for seasoning
20 grams (1 1/3 tablespoons) sugar
10 grams (1 tablespoon) diastatic malt powder
Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut them into 1-inch cubes. Measure out 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds or about 7 1/3 cups) of the potato cubes. Reserve any excess for another use. Place the potatoes in a second large pot with 2 liters (about 2 quarts) of water. Add the salt and sugar, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until the potatoes are very tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
Drain the potatoes, then transfer them to a food processor. Add the malt powder, then process until smooth and sticky. Transfer to a large zip-close plastic bag, pressing out as much air as possible before closing. Place the bag of potatoes in the pot of 125 F water and cook in this manner for 30 minutes.
Empty the potatoes from the bag into a clean pot, then heat gently to at least 167 F. Season with salt and serve immediately.
Updated: May 19, 2013 7:35AM
When made just right, mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food: smooth, creamy, warm and filling — not to mention a perfect vehicle for gravy.
But how to get them perfectly smooth and creamy? Too often ridding mashed potatoes of those pesky lumps forces you to overwork the spuds into a gummy, grainy mess. Or you end up adding so much cream and butter that the dairy drowns out the flavor of the potatoes.
If you like your mashed potatoes fluffy, the answer is fairly straightforward. Choose a floury variety of potato, such as Maris Piper or russet, pass the peeled, boiled potatoes through a ricer, then mix in just enough butter and milk or cream to moisten.
Recently our research chefs perfected a modernist method that yields an amazingly smooth and slightly sweet potato puree, and all without adding any butter, milk or cream. The secret is to deploy a little trick of biochemistry that converts the starch in the potatoes into sugar.
The key to this culinary alchemy is an enzyme known as diastase. Don’t let the fancy name put you off; this ingredient is quite natural (it is derived from malted grain), and you can buy it online or at stores that sell brewing and baking ingredients. The enzyme typically is sold in a ready-to-use form called diastatic malt powder.
Like other enzymes, diastase is a protein whose complex molecular shape allows it to accelerate chemical transformations with amazing speed and specificity. When you eat a starchy food like bread or potatoes, enzymes in your gut help break down the starch into simpler carbohydrates (such as sugars) that your body can burn or store for energy. By adding diastase to our mashed potatoes, we’re simply getting a jump on the process.
The trickiest part about using diastatic malt powder is measuring the right amount. It’s potent stuff, so you really should measure ingredients by weight. After you have peeled and cubed the potatoes, weigh them. For every 100 grams of potatoes, measure out 1 gram of diastatic malt powder. So 1,100 grams of peeled, cubed potatoes calls for 11 grams of malt powder.