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Perfect Mashed Potato
Serves 4
900g Desiree or King Edward potatoes
1 dessertspoon salt
50g butter
4 tablespoons whole milk
2 tablespoons crème fraiche
salt and freshly milled black pepper

Use a potato peeler to pare off the potato skins as thinly as possible, t hen cut the potatoes into even-sized chunks – not too small; if the are large, quarter them, and if they are small, half them. Put the potato chunks in a steamer fitted over a large pan of boiling water, sprinkle the salt all over them, put a lid on and steam the potatoes until they are absolutely tender – they should take 20-25 minutes. The way to tell whether they are ready is to pierce them with a skewer in the thickest part: they should not be hard in the centre, and you need to be careful here, because if they are slightly underdone you do get lumps.
When the potatoes are cooked, removed them from the steamer, drain off the water, return them to the saucepan and cover with a clean tea cloth for about 4 minutes to absorb some of the steam, then add the butter, milk and crème fraiche. When you first go in with the whisk, use a slow speed to break the potatoes up, then increase it to high and whip them up to a smooth, creamy, fluffy mass. Taste and, if they deed it, season.
Note: To make low-fat mashed potatoes, replace the butter, milk and crème fraiche with 150g of Quark (skimmed-milk soft cheese) and 2-3 tablespoons of semi-skimmed milk.
(Source: Delia’s How to Cook, Book One, by Delia Smith, BBC Worldwide Ltd, 1998)

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