Perfect Mashed Potatoes

This is now my standard all-time mashed potato recipe. To make a low-fat version, replace the butter, milk and crème fraîche with 5 oz (150 g) of Quark (skimmed-milk soft cheese) and 2-3 tablespoons of semi-skimmed milk.

Serves 4

This recipe is adapted from Delia's How to Cook Book One

Perfect Mashed Potatoes
 2 lb (900 g) Desirée
 1 level dessertspoon salt
 2 oz (50 g) butter
 4 tablespoons whole milk
 2 level tablespoons crème fraîche or cream
 salt and freshly milled black pepper
Equipment: You will also need a large saucepan with a tight fitting lid, a fan steamer and an electric hand whisk


Use a potato peeler to pare off the potato skins as thinly as possible, then cut the potatoes into even-sized chunks – not too small; if they are large, quarter them, and if they are small, halve 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, turn the heat down to low 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 drain off the water and lift out the fan steamer leaving the potatoes in the pan and cover with a clean tea cloth for about 4 minutes to absorb some of the steam, then add the butter, milk and crème fraîche or cream

When you first go in with the whisk, before you turn it on, push the beaters down through all of the potatoes to break them up. Next switch the whisk on to slow and continue to break the potatoes up, then gradually increase it to high and whip them up to a smooth, creamy, fluffy mass.

Taste and, if they need it, season

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