Copper pomme Anna pan: howto?

I recently stumbled on a small copper pomme Anna pan. Heavy smooth copper with a few rather deep scratches on the outside but no bumps. On the inside, a couple of nasty black streaks but otherwise unused looking shiny tin. 16cm in diameter. IMO probably a vintage Mauviel.
As the price was indecently low (perhaps even at alarash’s legendary local thrift shop level), I naturally couldn’t resist and picked it up.
Then I began to search online for a good pomme Anna recipe using a dedicated pomme Anna pan… No luck so far. Lots of contradictions and inconsistencies.

Now I have questions for the Onions:
Stove or oven ?
Lid on ? or lid off ?
Butter ? Clarified butter ? Ghee ?
TIA for all your help !


Clarified butter, oven, flip to crisp top. Yum. Very cool.

These are, of course, just my opinions. I cannot imagine any bad approaches.

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Beautiful pan at a bargain! What could be better?

I use the stovetop.
Lid off except for flipping–you want to drive off water
Clarified butter

Here’s a recipe you might like:

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Thanks, Tim. Thanks, Kaleo.

As each of you has a different approach, I guess I will have to try both on the stove and in the oven then.
In addition, I just checked Escoffier’s Ma cuisine. His way is butter/lid on/oven.

My cholesterol levels are definitely going to suffer! :yum:

I read somewhere that one is to slightly overfill the pan and then use the lid to press down on the potato slides. Is this something Onions have tried?

In full disclosure, i did mine with two skillets, effective but likely not nearly so as your pan. With two skillets I used a 9" cast iron fry pan and the back of a 24 cm carbon steel pan. I put more clarified butter in the carbon steel pan when I flipped it, after first giving it a quick wipe of its bottom. After flipping it I left the top off to let liquid evaporate and promote browning. Neither CI nor CS works particularly well on stovetops IMO. That is why I went for the oven.

Pressing down occasionally helps with the crisping–which I think is what PA is all about. You can use anything slightly smaller to press with (The lid is usually too large).

However, I believe less is more when it comes to filling the pan, both for crispness and turning into the (usually) shallower lid.

Have fun!

Imho this is a good recipe, below. Using both the stovetop and oven, as well as lid on and lid off. For browning you need the lid to be off, but for cooking and preventing the potatoes to dry out you need the lid to be on. Where the recipe uses foil, you will use the lid. Remember that the bottom of the pan will be the top of your dish.

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Are these the people who defaced a chateau by installing a glass elevator in a turret?

The prep only calls for pan browning on one side. The occasional shake is a good tip though.

Thanks, Damiano.
I’ll make sure to test this fourth (or is it fifth? :crazy_face:) method.
With so many different recipes to try, I’m hoping that this pomme Anna pan will indeed see more regular action that my fish kettle. :grin:

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LOL. I didn’t make the connection at first but indeed, they are. I heard they fled the scene of the crime and went back to Northern Ireland.

What kind of cooking time for each side are we looking at with the full stovetop method ?

I think you have to play with the heat and thinness. You want the surface(s) perfectly browned to preference, with the interior creamy. This won’t take terribly long with a thin “pancake”. I’ve not deeply researched PA, but my sense is that the eponymous muse favored thin and crispy.

I think what the Chateau people were doing is more of a gratin.

How many layers do you use?
Escoffier calls for 4 to 5.
The Chateau people recipe calls to add layers “until the pan is full” but on the picture, the gratin pan looks to be just about half filled up.
I was under the impression, I don’t know why because I’ve never had PA, that one was supposed to get something more akin to a cake that a pancake.

If I can get consistent 2mm rounds, probably 3-4 layers. You end up with more height of course, because the rounds overlap, like a spiral staircase. You don’t care how perfect the top looks, because it ends up being the bottom.

It’s up to you how you want the final dish to be, i.e. there is no right or wrong recipe. Just try to understand what is going to happen when you do what. If I read a recipe I already know more or less how the final dish will be.

Browning on both sides is possible, but you better be sure you can flip 5 layers of thin potato slices held together by warm butter… Without things falling apart :slight_smile:

Only cooking in the oven is the safest and easiest but you won’t get a proper browning at the bottom of the pan. As for how many layers, as your pan is small in diameter you can do a lot of layers, which makes for a prettier final dish imho.

Please let us know how it turns out!

Of course I agree that for a given dish there may be different recipes that will lead to equally satisfying if ever slightly different results.
However some recipes are definitely better than others. And a few are just plain bad. :woozy_face:

I just checked Julia Child’s recipe for pomme Anna in Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 2. I quote: “Although the copper cocotte Anna is a beautiful object, its absolutely vertical sides, 3-inch depth, and frequent tendency to sticky-bottom troubles make it less easy to use than other possibilities
Well, I’ll try to make some pomme Anna over the w-e and we’ll see the outcome ! I’ll make sure to report.


So, @LouisLeJung, how is the new pan faring? Are the pommes spectacular? What do you and others here like to serve with pommes Anna?

When I used mine for the first time I had some tin flake off onto the crisped side after flipping. I haven’t made it again since.

I recall using Yukon golds or a similar yellow variety.

I can’t remember what I served it with as I only made it once, but it seems like a perfect accompaniment to steak.

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What a beautiful pan. The bargain price will make the dish taste all the better. I like the small size pommes Anna pans over the large ones.

PS. I’ve never found French copper thrifting, so kudos to you :smile:

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Containing everything in a more-or-less uniform cake is the raison d’etre for the specialty pan. The key is to get acceptable browning on the first side while not having it stick, so it will release into the other pan half (and also not stick).

My tips:
Lots of clarified/ghee
Press down the cake with a saucepan bottom
The occasional vicious shake to break adhesion–like with an omelet
Turn out onto a warmed serving plate; the occasional stick-er can be put back in place for service.

There’s nothing wrong with playing with truly small cakes to get the temperature and time dialed in.

a trick I learned some 30 years back . . .
butter / ghee soak a parchment round for the bottom.
that’ll let one flip it onto a plate&slide/flip it back into the pan with no sticking…
remove the parchment for 2nd side browning . . .

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