Pommes Anna or Potato Anna is a french potato dish that is layered together to form a cake like dish. Chef Adolphe Dugléré is credited to be the person who invented this dish in the 1800’s. He named the dish after a supposed prostitute(Cocotte), Anna Deslions? Although I cannot confirm whether this is true that is what my finding told me. Most people in America do not eve know such a dish like this exist. Making it also provide another hurdle that you must jump through due to its complexity. Luckily there exist a pan by Mauviel called the la cocotte à pommes Anna or Pommes Anna Pan. You can usually find it at Amazon at this Link. The goal is to simplify the cooking process of this beautiful dish. We will be reviewing how the pan is constructed, how to use it effectively.
How do you use the Pommes Anna Pan?
The basic concept of a Pommes Anna is a stacking of thinly sliced potatoes in a circular form. Between each layer, you season with salt and butter, Parmesan cheese is recommended as well. You stack the potatoes up to the top of the pan and you cover the top with the lid. Both top and bottom of the pan is designed to fry the potato slices. If done properly, both the top and bottom will be perfectly browned. Once, both side is brown, you finish cooking the dish in the oven so that the center will cook through. The end result is a buttery, savory potato cake.
Pieces of the Pomme Anna Pan
These pans usually come in two pieces that closes to make an enclosure. The bad thing that is inherent with the design of these pan is that the metal is sitting on top of the tin. If you even use it for a moderate amount of times, the tin will eventually wear down to the copper.
The bottom larger piece is the one where you want to start layering the potato. The reason to start with this is simply because of the height. If you start with the smaller one, you wont be able to layer the potato all the way up to the rim.
For those who want to maximize the utility of their purchase. You can technically make one as a frying pan and another a sauce pot but the handle will make it difficult to move around the stove top. Which brings us to the next topic, the handle.
Pomme Anna Pan Handles
These handles are often called shrek ears because they resembles shrek ears. As stated before using them individually is not really functional. However, if you use it like it was designed, it makes flipping the Pommes Anna really simple. All you need to do is to squeeze it together and the cake will be secured.
The handle on this and most of the other pans of this type are made of brass. You will need to wear gloves as it will become really hot. They are affixed by copper rivets, but with pans of this size, durability is not really that much of an issue.
For whatever reason, these handles are pretty rough. There are are cracks and nicks throughout. I am not sure if it was just damage through use. The texture is rough and not polished like the newer version.
Thickness of the Copper
For the most part, the thickness of these pans is not that important. Most the cooking will be finished in the oven.
That is not to say you should just stick with a thin pan. There are many different version online, try to find one that is at least 2mm.
For the initial searing, the bottom bigger pan should be thicker. This allows for a more even heat distribution and searing. The smaller pan will be thinner but when you flip to sear it on that side, it should already be heated up. Even heat distribution should not really be an issue.
This pan is hammered to give it a beautiful gleaming look. Originally the reason why manufacturers will hammer these is to improve the structural integrity of the copper. When hammered, it will anneal the metal and make it harder. However, because of the size of this pan, it was most likely done for superficial reason.
Fit and Finish
As this is a used pan, it is hard to judge the fit and finish of this pan. However, based on the handle, the rustic look was most likely done on purpose. One possible explanation for this is that these older pans were done by hand, which is why it looks so rough.
The hammering finish on the bottom bigger pan is better than the smaller pan. Thinner pans sometimes have the bottom of the pan is hammered. This is not one of those pan.
Note:These measurement are done by me with the tools that I have on hand. The manufacturers have their own measurement guidelines and that should be assumed to be accurate. What I find on this review can vary widely due to several factors, such as ambient temperature, location, water, tool calibration, stove btu, etc..and should only be considered as my opinion.
Weight: 1745 g combined. Bottom Piece: 958 g Top Piece:787 g
Width: Bottom Rim Width: Around 6.25 inch Top Rim Width: Around 7.75 inch
Height: Bottom Height: Around 2.45 inch Top Height: Around 1.25 inch
Thickness: Bottom Thickness:Around 2.3 mm Top Thickness: Around: 1.97 mm
These pans are pretty much a specialty pan that only enthusiast or professional chef will purchase. You can still make the dish with a frying pan like all the videos on youtube. However, it will be very difficult to get the same height and result as you would with the Pomme Anna Pan.
I hope you like this Pomme Anna Pan by Mauviel Review, If you would like to see more, please visit our Pots and Pans Review page.