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Hanukkah Latkes

Whose Bubbie’s Recipes Is Best?


Thursday, December 6, 2012

No food represents Hanukkah more than the latke—a potato pancake that can be made as many ways as there are bubbies in the world. (Of course, no matter how superior another latke may be, the only proper thing to say is “Good. But my bubbie’s are the best.”) Caterer Lori Stern has put her own spin on her Bubbie Anna’s latke recipe, variations that may or may not have pleased Anna. “[She] would always bring her own cooked chicken leg to any dinner party,” Stern recalled. “She loved her own cooking.”

As Bubbie Anna herself could no doubt attest, the difference between a great latke and a so-so one has to do with both flavor and texture. “You can achieve great flavor with sea salt and fresh herbs,” Stern said. Most importantly: “In terms of the texture, you gotta wring out that extra moisture so the pancakes get crispy.” Here’s her recipe:

Golden Latkes

4 large Yukon gold or russet potatoes, peeled

1 small onion

2 eggs (or 4 egg whites)

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. sea salt

3 Tbsp. flour (you can also use matzo meal, whole wheat or rice flour)

optional:

2 cloves garlic (minced)

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh herbs such as dill, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, or tarragon

dash of pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Hand grate or use a food processor to shred the potatoes and onion. Place the shredded potato and onion in a kitchen towel to completely wring out excess liquid. Combine all dry ingredients together, and then combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and lightly grease with oil. Drop 2-3 Tbsp. of latke mixture on baking sheet so each pancake is about 1/4 inch thick and 3 inches wide. Bake 15-20 minutes per side, and then flip the pancakes over and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until golden brown and slightly crispy. Serve with chunky applesauce (recipe below) and sour cream. Garnish with fresh chives or pomegranate seeds. (Visit independent.com/food for a variation using sweet potatoes.)

Chunky Applesauce

2 Granny Smith apples

3 McIntosh apples

1 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1 Tbsp. water

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. cardamom

3 Tbsp. sugar

Peel, core, and chop apples into ¾-inch chunks. Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over medium-low heat. Add apples, cinnamon, cardamom, sugar, lemon juice, and water. Stirring occasionally, cook until the apples are tender, about 10 minutes.

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