Thursday, January 9, 2020

German Potato Pancakes and Crispy Latkes - Margaret Ullrich

Happy New Year!
I hope this will be the start of a great year and an even better decade for you.

I’ve noticed that the post ‘Hoito Restaurant’s Finnish Pancake Recipe’ has regularly been a popular one.
I’m glad you’ve been enjoying it, and I’m going to post more pancake recipes.
In fact, today I’ll start with two!

Every Jewish family has its own latkes recipe - some produce pancakes that are flat and lacy, while others give pancakes that are thick. 
They’re all good, so think of this recipe as a starter.

Tomorrow’s full moon is the Full Wolf Moon, so named because in midwinter the wolves howled hungrily outside native villages. 
Sometimes it was also called the Old Moon, or the Moon After Yule. 
There will also be also a full Wolf Moon Eclipse, which will be visible in Asia, Australia, Europe, and Africa. 
North Americans will not be able to see it since it takes place during our daytime.
Oh, well, there’s bound to be one we’ll be able to see, too.


For both: Don’t crowd - you want the pancakes to brown and be easy to flip.

About the German Potato Pancakes…
If this is your first time making potato pancakes, relax. 
German potato pancakes are a bit more forgiving than latkes, and have ingredients most folks have in their pantries.
Don't bother patting to dry the potatoes. The flour takes care of any remaining liquid. 
If a little seeps while it’s frying it will add a bit of crispiness to the edges.

They can be served with fried apple slices and maple syrup for a brunch.
They are also good with cranberry sauce. 
Good to know if you’re serving them as a side dish with poultry. 

Leftover pancakes can be used in sandwiches. 
Just butter the bread, layer the pancakes, and season with salt and pepper.

About the Latkes…
Latkes recipes demand that the potatoes be as dry as possible. 
Russets, high in starch with a dry, mealy texture, work best since their dryness helps to create a crispy texture.
You can use the large shredding blade on your food processor to grate the vegetables.

Matzo meal is made by grinding matzo, an unleavened cracker, into coarse crumbs. 
Give the matzo crumbs a few minutes to absorb the liquid before frying.
Use your fingers to blend the potato starch into the potato mixture.

Traditional recipes call for latkes to be fried in a blend of half oil and half schmaltz, which is clarified chicken or goose fat.
It is sometimes flavoured with onion, and is a staple of traditional Jewish cooking.
You can also just use an oil like peanut, canola, or olive.
When you flip the latkes they should hold together and not break apart.

After frying latkes can be kept warm in a 200° F oven for up to 30 minutes.
Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container.
Recrisp in a 300° F for 5 to 10 minutes. 

                        German Potato Pancakes

Peel and shred
6 medium potatoes
Place in a colander over a bowl to drain away excess liquid.

Finely chop
1 medium onion (enough to have 1/2 Cup)

Place in a large bowl
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
Beat together and mix in the shredded potatoes and finely chopped onion.

Place in a griddle
1/4 cup vegetable oil 
Allow the oil to heat to 350º - 400º F.
Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of the potato mixture into the griddle.
Press each mound to flatten and let brown on one side, about 3 minutes.
Flip the pancakes over and cook for another 3 minutes. 
The pancakes should be browned and crispy. 
Drain on paper towels, then remove to warmed plates and keep warm.
Repeat until all of the mixture is used.

They are traditionally topped with sugar and served with applesauce on the side.
For more of a meal, serve with bratwurst sausage and boiled cabbage.

                        Crispy Latkes

Makes 12 (4-inch) latkes

Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 200° F. 
Line 1 rimmed baking sheet with a double layer of paper towels. 
Fit a wire cooling rack into another baking sheet. 
Set both aside.

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes 

Peel and quarter
1/2 medium yellow onion

Line a bowl with three layers of cheesecloth.
Grate into the cheesecloth lined bowl
the prepared potatoes and onion
Gather the corners of the cloths and tie around the handle of a wooden spoon. 
Hold the bag over the bowl and squeeze the liquid from the vegetables. 
Squeeze as hard as you can until no more liquid comes out of the vegetables.
Set the vegetables aside and give the liquid a few minutes so the starch will settle.
Pour off and discard the liquid but leave the potato starch in the bowl.

the dried potatoes and onion
1 large egg
2 tablespoons matzo meal or unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper 
Mix well, making sure that the potato starch is evenly distributed. 
Set batter aside for 10 minutes.

Place in a large skillet
1 cup canola oil or chicken schmaltz, or a combination of both
You want enough to have a depth of 1/4 inch of fat.
Heat over medium-high heat until a piece of the latke mixture sizzles immediately.

Scoop 1/4 cup of the mixture, drop into the skillet, and flatten to make 4-inch patties.
Repeat until the skillet has a few pancakes in it.
Cook until a dark brown, 4 to 5 minutes per side, adjusting the heat if necessary.
Place the latkes on the paper towelilined baking sheet to drain for 2 minutes.
Transfer the latkes to the wire cooling rack set in the other baking sheet.
Keep warm in the oven for up to 30 minutes while you cook the remaining batter.

Serve with applesauce and sour cream.

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