Potatoes three ways

Guest chef recipe

Preparation time
30 mins to 1 hour

Cooking time
1 to 2 hours

Serves 4

By Poppy O’Toole
From Saturday Kitchen


For the wrapped fondants

  • 8 Maris Piper potatoes, peeled
  • 8 rashers pancetta or thin streaky bacon
  • 10 rosemary sprigs
  • oil, for cooking
  • 250g/9oz clarified salted butter
  • chicken stock, to cover
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • For chocolate-filled potato dauphines
  • ½ recipe quantity Italian meringue (see below)
  • 2 Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm/½ in chunks
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 20g/¾oz unsalted butter, plus an extra 10g, softened
  • 2 tbsp full-fat milk
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 2½ tbsp plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • 500ml/18fl oz vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • 5–7 tbsp chocolate spread

For the Italian meringue topping

  • 250g/9oz caster sugar
  • 2 free-range egg whites

For the crispy Parmesan cubes

  • 5–6 Maris Piper potatoes, peeled and cut into even cubes
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for drizzling
  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 3 rosemary sprigs
  • 20g/¾oz Parmesan, finely grated
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. To make the wrapped fondants, cut the potatoes into even-sized round cylinder shapes by cutting off the tops and bottoms of the potatoes. Wrap the pancetta around the potatoes and secure by piercing the pancetta with rosemary sprigs. Heat enough oil to cover the base in a saucepan over a medium–high heat. Add the potatoes so they sit like flat cylinders, and cook for 5–10 minutes, or until starting to colour. Flip them over and add the clarified butter.

  2. Pour in enough chicken stock to make sure the potatoes are just covered. Add the garlic and remaining rosemary. Place some baking paper on top and cook over a medium–low heat for around 50–60 minutes. It’s a long process but it’s worth it! Check all of the stock and some of the butter has evaporated, leaving soft fluffy potatoes in a pool of caramelised butter. Turn the heat off and leave the spuds in the pan. After about 10–15 minutes, they will be ready to remove from the bottom of the pan.

  3. To make the chocolate-filled potato dauphines, tip the potatoes into a saucepan. Cover with water, add the salt and boil for 7–10 minutes, until tender. Drain, then suspend the colander over the pan and cover with a clean tea towel for about 10 minutes, until the potatoes have steamed off and dried out a bit. Tip the spuds back into the pan, add the 10g softened butter and mash until smooth. Leave to cool slightly.

  4. Pour the milk into a small saucepan. Add the sugar and 2 tablespoons water and place over a medium heat to warm up – it should be just warm. In another saucepan, melt the 20g/¾oz butter over a medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon, for about 3 minutes, until the paste isn’t sticking to the pan. Gradually add the warm milk mixture, stirring continuously, to form a smooth batter. Remove from the heat and beat in the egg until the mixture has cooled and is smooth. Weigh out 200g/7oz of the cooled potato mixture (any extra can be used in another recipe) and add to the batter in the pan. Beat together until fully combined.

  5. Pour the vegetable oil into a large deep saucepan until the oil is about 7cm/2¾in deep. Place over a medium–high heat until it reaches 160–180C on a cooking thermometer (or a bit of the potato mixture turns golden within 60 seconds). (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.) While the oil is heating up, lightly dust your hands with flour and make nine table-tennis-sized balls from the potato dough. Fry the balls, in batches of three, in the hot oil for 2–3 minutes, turning until golden and crispy. Drain each batch on kitchen paper while frying the rest.

  6. Spoon the chocolate spread into a piping bag (or plastic sandwich bag) and snip the end to make a small opening. When the potato balls are cool enough to handle, use a skewer or cocktail stick to make a hole in the centre of each. Stick the piping bag into the holes and fill with some chocolate spread.

  7. To make the Italian meringue topping, place the sugar in a small saucepan and add 110ml/3¾fl oz water. Place over a medium heat and give the pan a little swirl to combine, but do not stir. Leave the sugar to dissolve to a thick syrup. Once the temperature of the syrup is 100C on a sugar thermometer, tip the egg whites into a clean bowl and start whisking, using an electric handheld whisk or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed. Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks – aim to get them to this point by the time the sugar syrup reaches 118C on the thermometer.

  8. If the eggs peak too soon, wait for the sugar to get to temperature before continuing. Once the syrup is ready, whisk the eggs on a medium–high speed and then, very carefully and slowly, trickle the sugar syrup down the inside of the bowl into the whites. Once all the syrup is in, keep whisking until the meringue has cooled to body temperature.

  9. If you’re using a stand mixer, test this by placing your hand on the side of the bowl or take a teaspoonful out of the bowl and test the temperature with your finger.
    Spoon the meringue into a piping bag (twist the opening and just above the nozzle to stop it oozing out) and use immediately, or it can be stored raw in the freezer in the piping bag but for 2–3 hours only – bring back to room temperature 30 minutes before using.
    Spoon (or pipe) a splodge of Italian meringue on top of the chocolate-filled potatoes and, if you have a chefs’ blow torch, toast off the meringue for colour and texture.

  10. To make the crispy Parmesan cubes, place the potatoes in a saucepan with cold water and plenty of salt. Bring to the boil and cook for 5–7 minutes or until tender enough to fall off the end of a knife. Drain and leave in the colander with a tea towel over them to steam dry for 10 minutes.

  11. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6. Add the vegetable oil to a baking tray and place in the oven. Cut the top off the garlic bulb and wrap tightly in some kitchen foil with a rosemary sprig, a touch of oil and a sprinkle of salt. Take the hot tray out of the oven and add the potatoes and wrapped garlic. Cook for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, give the potatoes a stir and leave to cook for a further 15 minutes.

  12. Remove the baking tray from the oven and take the garlic and rosemary out of the foil. Chop the remaining rosemary leaves. Squeeze the garlic out of the bulb and mix with the chopped rosemary and Parmesan. Add this to the potatoes and rosemary sprig, season with salt and pepper and mix.

  13. Serve all of the potatoes.

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