Pommes de Terre
This is a simple but delicious and visually convincing recipe, adapted from one donated by actress Violet Marquesita to Elizabeth Craig’s The Stage Favourites’ Cook Book in 1923. The quantities she gives are somewhat vague, but this is the kind of thing that can easily be adapted to suit your own tastes, be it for different flavours of cake, jam, liqueur or fruit. I think you will agree, the application of a bit of diluted brown food-colouring at the end makes for a very convincing result.
Chocolate cake crumbs (whizzed up in a food processor)
Maraschino liqueur (optional)
1 jar Maraschino cherries
1 packet white almond paste
Brown food colouring paste
Mix the cake crumbs with enough jam and Maraschino liqueur (or perhaps some of the syrup from your Maraschino cherries) to form a stiff paste.
Drain the cherries and dab them dry with kitchen roll. Then squidge the cake crumb mixture around each one into an oval potato shape.* Size is up to you (do you want to go new or jacket?) but be aware that the almond paste bulks their size up considerably.
Roll out the almond paste to about 3mm thick, using a bit of icing sugar to prevent it from sticking to your work-surface. Cut approximately to size and wrap each potato with it. Rub the joins using your forefinger and a bit of water to help them disappear.
With a skewer or fork, poke ‘eyes’ into your potatoes. Then, with some diluted brown food colouring paste, paintbrush your first potato, immediately rubbing most of it off again with kitchen roll, before it has had a chance to dry. This should give you the perfect “freshly dug” effect. Repeat until you are done. If you want to go the whole hog, lay your potatoes on a bed of chocolate cake crumbs, to look like soil.
*Ideally you will be hygienically sporting a pair of food preparation gloves throughout this process.