We can thank the late, great French chef, Joël Robuchon for these unbelievably smooth and decadent mashed potatoes. Pommes Purée, pronounced “pom pure-eh”, is a classic French-style potato purée suitable to be served alongside all types of dishes like roast chicken, steak, fish etc.
Have you ever wondered why restaurant mashed potatoes taste so much better than the ones you make at home? Any good line cook can tell you the secret… it starts with the right kind of potatoes, a fine mesh sieve and a truly shocking amount of butter.
Making pommes purée is a labor of love and the pay off is well worth the work. The potatoes, specifically Yukon Golds (save the Russets for another time) are first boiled until tender then dried to rid them of excess moisture, then pressed through a potato ricer or food mill before being folded together with an extraordinary amount of butter and cream.
Now you could stop there and have a fantastic batch of light, fluffy mashed potatoes. But for considerably smoother, denser and more luxurious pommes purée you’ll want take the additional step of pressing the riced potato through a fine mesh Tamis Sieve. The fine mesh holes of the tamis eliminates every last lump and bump without agitating the starches enough to make the potatoes gluey or gummy.
Ingredients You’ll Need:
Here’s everything you need to make this recipe: potatoes, specifically Yukon Gold potatoes, heavy cream or whole milk, butter and salt.
Choosing the Right Potato for Pommes Purée:
Yukon Golds’ buttery texture and subtle creaminess makes it the *perfect* potato for mashing. Yukon Gold sizes can range from golf ball to baseball-sized. To ensure even cooking, choose potatoes that are roughly all the same size.
Recipe Step by Step:
Step 1. Boil Potatoes
Peel the potatoes then submerge them in a pot of cold water. Simmer until they’re tender when pierced with a pairing knife, about 15 to 20 minutes. Note- if peeling potatoes sounds super tedious it’s probably time for a new peeler.
Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them through a colander and let them rest there for 1-2 minutes to allow excess moisture to evaporate. This step is *key* for fluffy, not watery potatoes.
Step 2. Rice the Potatoes
Next it’s time to press the potatoes through a “ricer” or food mill. If you have the choice of either I recommend a ricer. You can rice the potatoes directly back into the pot you cooked them in. If you prefer to stop here and skip the tamis step, go ahead and fold the butter, salt and cream into the potatoes while stirring gently over medium-low heat until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
Step 3. *Optional* Press Through a Tamis
To pass the potatoes through a tamis, position the tamis over a large bowl then use a bowl scraper or the back of a flat spatula, to force the riced potatoes through the mesh with a pressing/scraping motion. Transfer the potato “fluff” to a pot and fold in the butter, cream and salt over low heat until combined.
Pommes Purée vs Mashed Potatoes–whats the difference?
It’s all about technique. Mashed potatoes, the rustic, reliable side dish we all know and love, are made with boiled potatoes that are quite literally “mashed” or smashed with a potato masher then laced with butter, milk or cream. Unlike velvety-smooth pommes purée, mashed potatoes are pleasantly speckled with lumps of soft potato that don’t get completely broken down during the mashing process. Pommes purée, while made with the same ingredients has the additional step of pressing the boiled potatoes through a fine mesh sieve which gives the potatoes the consistency of a fine purée with zero lumps or chunks.
Check Out More Delicious Side Dishes:
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Pommes Purée–Iconic French Mashed Potatoes
- 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes small or medium
- 16 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- Peel the potatoes and place them in a large pot of cold, generously salted water. Bring the pot to a boil then reduce the heat to medium-low and gently cook the potatoes until they are tender when pierced with a fork, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them through a colander and let them rest there for about 1-2 minutes to allow excess moisture to evaporate. This step is key for light, fluffy potatoes.
- Meanwhile, place a potato ricer over a large bowl and begin to pass the potatoes through in batches. From here, you can go ahead and transfer the potatoes to a pot on the stove and fold in the cream, butter and salt. The mash wont be as smooth Or, for *extra* smooth and velvety pommes purée, set a fine-mesh sieve or "tamis" over a pot and push the riced potatoes through the tamis with a bowl scraper.
- Place the pot over medium-low heat, add in the butter, cream and a generous pinch of salt. Use a rubber spatula to fold together the purée until all the ingredients are evenly combined. Don't agitate the potatoes excessively or they will become gluey. Transfer the pommes purée to a large bowl or platter–serve warm.
- Potatoes: Yukon Golds’ buttery texture and subtle creaminess makes it the *perfect* potato for mashing. Yukon Gold sizes can range from golf ball to baseball-sized. To ensure even cooking, choose potatoes that are roughly all the same size.
- Butter: If you can swing it, opt for the good stuff. A high quality, European style butter will really elevate the flavor and texture of the potatoes.
- Heavy Cream: Whole milk or Half & Half will work too.
- Leftover pommes purée can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat over low heat in a saucepan, add a few tablespoons of cream or milk to loosen up the potatoes as needed.