Fix some potato pancakes in honor of Hanukkah

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By Susan Lowery

It's time for a special Hanukkah treat that I love at any time of the year - potato pancakes (latkes).

I've tried lots of recipes and my very favorite is the one from the Junior's Restaurant cookbook.

Every recipe I've tried from this cookbook has been terrific. I hope to go to Brooklyn some day and eat at the restaurant.

Their potato pancakes are out of this world, and the extra blanching step eliminates the problem of the grated potatoes turning brown before you can cook them.

Try these.

I guarantee you'll be glad you did.

Occasionally, I want a potato latke but don't feel like going to any trouble at all. That's when I pull out my old Mouli grater (every old hippie has one).

I grate one raw potato on the coarse blade, then pack it firmly into a small cast iron frying pan that's been heating up with a little oil. Fry on each side a few minutes till golden brown on the outside and cooked through on the inside.

Sprinkle on a little salt and pepper, and it's delicious. It's about the easiest thing you can make.

Homemade Potato Pancakes

2 pounds all-purpose boiling potatoes

1 cup grated onions

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

2 extra-large eggs, beaten

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

Sour cream or applesauce

Peel and grate or finely shred the potatoes (you need four cups of potatoes) and let them stand in ice water for 15 minutes.

Fill a medium-sized pan with water and bring to a boil over high heat. Drop in the potatoes and onions and blanch for two minutes. Pour the vegetables through a colander and squeeze out the excess water; pat dry on paper towels, then transfer to a large bowl.

Mix the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and pepper together in a cup and toss with the potatoes and onions. Fold in the eggs just until the potatoes are coated. Do not overmix the batter at this stage, as this can make the pancakes tough and heavy.

Heat the butter and oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until the butter melts. For each cake, scoop about 1/3 cup of the batter onto the hot griddle, making 4-inch cakes about one-inch apart.

Fry the cakes until golden brown and crispy on both sides, about six minutes in all. Watch the heat closely so the skillet does not get too hot; you want the pancakes to fry just fast enough to turn a golden brown on the outside (no darker) and cook the potatoes on the inside. Serve the pancakes immediately with sour cream or applesauce.

Freezing tip - If you have some potato pancakes left over, slip them into self-sealing freezer bags and keep them in the freezer for up to one month. To serve, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the frozen potato cakes directly on the middle oven rack and heat until hot and sizzling, about eight minutes.