˝ cup AP flour (I use bio type 65 in my kitchen here which is a rough equivalent to American AP)
2 cold potatoes which have been steamed or boiled in their skins
6 eggs, separated
˝ tsp. salt
2 Tbs. bacon fat or melted butter
˝ cup warm water
This recipe calls for a half-cup of leftover mashed potatoes but since I usually don’t have mashed potatoes leftover. ;-) I just start with the plain boiled potato. I usually throw a sprig of rosemary into the pressure cooker when steaming potatoes for raclette, so this is also the treatment my potatoes have for my matafans. I think it adds a little something.
About the warm water: My grandmother Gertrude Courrier said that the use of warm water is a grandmother’s trick to make the matafans fluffier. I take her word for it since these do come out luxuriously fluffy. There’s never been any need for me to even test how this comes out with cold water.
Put your flour in a rather large mixing bowl and peel the skins off of the potatoes. Mash the potatoes roughly with a fork, turn them into the bowl with the flour, and work the chunks of potatoes into the flour with your fingers. Don’t worry if you leave a few potato lumps here and there.
Dissolve the salt into the warm water. Add the salted water, the 6 egg yolks, and the bacon fat to the flour potato mixture. Mix it well into a batter with a spoon or a whisk.
Beat the 6 egg whites until stiff peaks form. Fold the egg whites into the initial batter, lightly turning it together just until incorporated, don’t stir too much or the egg whites will deflate and you will defeat the purpose of having whipped them.
Put a cast iron crepe pan or griddle onto a hot stove and melt a couple of teaspoons of butter on it. Cook the matafans on the stovetop as you would a pancake, flipping them over with a spatula once the underside turns brown. Transfer them onto a plate which you keep in the cool corner of the oven (oh I’d say about 300F or 180C) and one by one, add to the stack, sort of baking them along the way. This treatment makes the edges take on a delightful crisp texture.
I serve my matafans with an array of savory things to tuck into them, folded over, for brunch on Sundays we plan to go out walking. Today it was bacon and some of the dent du chat Swiss gruyere, cut in wedges. You can do what you like, they’d even be good with jelly or maple syrup if that floats your boat.
by Chef Hogan
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