Imagine the look on their faces, when you take from the oven a piping-hot Vesuvian mound of baked potato and place it in the centre of the table - completely flaunting convention by making a side dish the main event.
The molten cheese lava flows from the heart of the potato mountain, creeping down the sides in an awe-inspiring display of elemental power. The very destructive force that formed our planet, captured in a dish your guests will never forget.
Ok this might be a bit far-fetched, but sometimes we can take our cooking a bit too seriously and it’s good to do something silly to bring back a bit of fun to the kitchen. Great for kids, but also for big kids, the potato volcano has a cult following on a Reddit thread within the r/Old_Recipes subreddit.
The potato volcano comes from the 1942 version of Joy of Cooking, with the original recipe below. Cheddar seems to be the most popular choice as the magma, but you can use any cheese that melts well. The recipe even suggests stuffing the magma chamber with Welsh rarebit.
The potato volcano is best when served immediately, otherwise, the cheese begins to congeal. So for the most impressive lava flow effect, bring it to the table straight out of the oven. Add sound effects, smoke or drama to taste.
Potato volcano with cheese
Mashed Potatoes (see above). There should be 3 cupfuls. Shape them into a mound on an oven-proof plate. Make a hollow in the top of the mound as large as a tea cup.
⅓ cup butter
Reserve 2 tablespoonfuls of this. To the remainder add:
½ cup grated cheese
2 egg yolks
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon paprika
Beat these ingredients well and pour them into the hollow. Spread the sides of the mound lightly with the reserved, melted butter. Cover the mound with bread crumbs.
Brown the volcano in a moderate oven at 190°. These potatoes may be shaped into individual mounds. Try filling the volcano with Welsh rarebit, page 193 (This may be canned.) Let it overflow.