Holding mashed potatoes for service

1,046
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
:confused:

Okay, I admit it, I'm embarassed! For the party I'm doing on the 16th, they want mashed taters with horseradish/chives; I want to do as much preprep as possible, meaning I would like to make the potatoes in advance, and then reheat them on site. Tried it at home over the weekend, and they flopped! Made the mash, then piped them all pretty on a sheet pan, cooled in fridge. When I reheated them in the oven, I watched them turn into little puddles with squiggles! I've always made potatoes on site before, so they were served right when made, but there's just not enough time/help to do this.

The only things I can figure are 1) too much cream/butter; 2) the cooked potatoes sat in the water a little too long, as I got a phone call and forgot about them - ? absorbed too much water?

Thanks in advance!
 
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Joined Mar 12, 2001
I know this doesn't answer your question. But, when I make mashed 'tatoes in advance, I just put them in my biggest crockpot on low....and they keep just a good as fresh. Imagine it won't work for the quantity you need, but what about one of those big roasters?
 
3,853
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Joined May 26, 2001
Jill has a good point: keep them hot, or at least warm. Wherever I've worked, the dinner mash was made about 3-4PM, put in a bain, and kept warm until service. Then they were scooped out as needed and reheated to serving temp. Cooling them makes them, well, yucky.

(It's not a problem of what's in them, really, but of how temperature changes play havoc with their composition.) Of course, you want to keep them out of the danger zone. But you knew that!
 
1,046
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
Thanks, Suzanne - Do you think the crockpot would work? The party's only 6 people, so there's plenty room in it. Maybe if I lined the pot (ceramic) with foil to prevent crusting?
 
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Joined Mar 12, 2001
marmalady, I have kept potatoes in the crockpot for several hours without any crusting. I think that keeping the lid on until you are ready prevents the crusting. A quick stir and they are ready to put out however you need them.
 
1,046
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
Thanks, all - I'm feeling much better about this - I'll just pipe 'em onto the plates from the crockpot.
 

pete

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The other option would be to do a twiced baked potato. That way you have mashed potatoes and an edible container for serving them in.
 
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Joined Jan 5, 2001
Just an FYI, when I've held MPs for long periods, they tend to set up, especially when made with real butter and whole milk or buttermilk (the BEST way to do it). So I make them a bit on the thin side to compensate for the setting up process.
 
164
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Joined Dec 2, 2000
If the party is at 7 PM or so..
What I do is prepare the mashed potatoes and add extra cream and butter. Then I put it in my cambro..Covered with aluminum foil
By the time it's service time they are perfect.

Since mashed potatoes dry out slightly, you must add more cream while you have them sit in the cambro.

I usually leave my kitchen about 3 hours before the party starts.

I just made them this weekend for a party of six and they were perfect..
Danielle
 
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
Chefdanielle - Cambro? Is that the big plastic containers? Do they stay warm - or how do you reheat?
 
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Joined Dec 2, 2000
The food stays either hot or cold.. If you want to keep the cambro cold you can put all your prepped items in pans and finish the dishes at the party..
Or you can take everything already prepared and hot all ready for service..
It keeps the dishes very hot for 6- 8 hours or so.
Mine was given to me by a retired caterer who thought I would really be able to use it.
And she was right..
I use it for everything.
I believe the company's website is Cambro.com.
I think for $600 you can pick up a double one.
They are very durable and easy to transport..
Great advertising for this company ha..
Good luck..
Danielle
 
1,046
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
It's been brought to my attention from my original question that I may be running a home-based catering business - not!!

The party I'm doing this weekend is a) for my hubbie's boss;
b) who is also a personal friend; c) she's paying me for food costs and my time.

As most of you know, I will be starting my new job in two weeks (FINALLY!!!), as 'assistant manager/chef' (actually got my title pinned down from the bosses!) of a new restaurant. So, no time for catering!

Just wanted to clarify, home-catering is not my bag of tricks - left a job working for a home-caterer because I didn't feel comfortable with it, and would never jeopardize myself, my home or my clients with working out of my home.
 
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Joined Mar 23, 2002
Don't be embarassed.

Reheating is not a very good idea, if you can, do them 20 minutes before serving and keep the mash warm ie in bain marie for example. This would work best perhaps also the type of Potato you used could be a problem. As for the ratio of your ingredients, try the following as a rule.

900g (2lb) Potatoes
300ml (2pints) of Cream
1-2 eggs or 1 whole egg and 1 yolk
25g-50g (1-2oz) butter
Salt and pepper

for the above just add 4 tablespoons of Horesradish.
Garnish with chives (do not put them in 20 min before they may go gary on you and spoil a very nice mash potato dish.

Happy cooking hope this helps
Gearóid:cool:
 
1,046
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
Solved the problem rather easily by just cooking the taters on site. Thanks, all, for the suggestions.
 
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Joined Apr 19, 2001
Thanks, danielle - It was great - one of those times when everything just 'clicked'; only 'disaster' was when the smoke alarm went off as I was searing the tuna aps - I just went on my merry way, and all the guests and hostesses were busily fanning the alarms and looking for the breaker box!

How is your new business going? The FoodTV website has a discussion group re catering and personal cheffing, if you want to check that out; lots of interesting comments re the 'personal chef' organization.
 
164
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Joined Dec 2, 2000
Now that's what i call Entertainment..
My business is doing fine..
Iam looking for a new kitchen..
The one I have now is not working out...
But Iam getting many jobs..
Thanks for the info about the discussion group..
Danielle
 
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Joined Mar 30, 2002
This info is a little late for you but maybe in the future.

Mashed Potatoes for 6 people should hold fine in a crock pot as long as it is on a setting that will keep your spuds around 140 degrees any hotter and any longer then a few hours you will find the starch begin to change and you will lose that nice color and texture.

I also recommend that you add your Chives and Horseradish just prior to serving, The chlorophyll in the chives will die fast and will not be as eye appealing as when they are add last, also the oils in the flavors of these 2 ingredients will lose their intensity. So I recommend that you re-season and add the chives and horseradish right before plating. Even use some of the chives as a garnish for your spuds.


"What No Spell Check"

Chef Rick
 
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Joined Feb 6, 2002
Found this on the Cooks Illustrated Website:

Is it possible to make mashed potatoes ahead of time and keep them warm while I prepare the rest of the meal?


Everyone agrees that mashed potatoes taste best when they are hot, freshly mashed, and still in the pot. As they cool, and their starches harden, mashed potatoes sacrifice much of their creamy fluffiness, becoming, over the space of a couple of hours, positively leaden. Yet it's not always possible to make them at the last minute. Here's our method for keeping mashed potatoes hot until serving time:

Make the potatoes with 1/4 additional, half-and-half, or cream, depending on your preference then turn them into a glass serving bowl or whatever vessel can be fit snugly over a pot containing about 3 inches of barely simmering water. Cover them flush with a damp, lintfree kitchen towel, a layer of plastic wrap, and a pot lid or tight band of aluminum foil. The potatoes will hold beautifully for up to two hours.


It may be too late for you to use but I thought it would benefit a few others.

Jodi
 

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