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1942 Joy of Cooking’s Potato Volcano

A vintage recipe that proves it’s more than okay to play with your food.

Vintage recipes belong to a category all their own because their appeal isn’t just in how good they taste, it’s also in their nostalgia. Well, this Potato Volcano gets high marks in both of those areas. The recipe comes from the 1942 edition of Joy of Cooking and it features not only creamy mashed potatoes, but also a molten buttery, cheesy center. It’s simple to make, fun to serve, and absolutely delicious.

As a kid (and okay, maybe sometimes as an adult) I always formed the mashed potatoes on my plate into a mountain, poured the gravy into a divot in the top, and let it run down the sides like lava. I know I’m not the only one. This dish isn’t all that different, it’s just a bit more elevated in its presentation. A more formal mashed potato volcano, if you will.

So how do you go about it? Well, first, you create a mound of mashed potatoes and form a nice hollow in the top.

Then, you fill that hollow with a mixture of eggs, butter, cheese, salt, and paprika.

You close the hollow up by smoothing out the mashed potatoes and brush the whole mound with butter. And then you bake it.

Did I mention yet that there’s also crunchy breadcrumbs? It’s true. In addition to the soft and creamy mashed potatoes and the ooey-gooey cheesiness, there’s plenty of crunchy breadcrumbs to keep things from being too one-note.

When you’re ready to serve, you get velvety mashed potatoes with every scoop, but they’re met with a cheesy buttery sauce that comes from that molten center. It’s an excellent way to dress up leftover mashed potatoes, but it’s more than delicious enough to make a batch of mashed potatoes specifically for the occasion. You don’t need gravy here – that buttery lava center and dusting of crispy breadcrumbs is all the adornment you need!

Serves 4

10m prep time

12m cook time

  • 3 cups mashed potatoes
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • Fine breadcrumbs, as needed
  1. Preheat oven to 380°F.
  2. Shape potatoes into a mound in an oven-proof plate (a pie dish works well). Make a hollow in the mound as large as a teacup.
  3. Set aside two tablespoons of the butter.
  4. Add the remainder to a bowl, and add the cheese, egg yolks, salt, and paprika. Beat ingredients together and pour into the potato hollow.
  5. Seal hollow by spreading mashed potatoes over the opening, and brush mound with the reserved butter. Cover mound lightly with breadcrumbs.
  6. Bake until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Enjoy!

Recipe from Joy of Cooking.

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