Seriously Simple

Crispy Potato-Apple Pancakes: A no-fail method

November 27, 2012 

Crispy Potato-Apple Pancakes with Maple Cinnamon Applesauce.

NOEL BARNHURST

  • Maple Cinnamon Applesauce 3 Gala apples, peeled, cored and cut into 2-inch chunks 3 pippin or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 2-inch chunks 6 tablespoons maple syrup 1 tablespoon cinnamon 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice Advance preparation: Can be prepared up to one week ahead, covered and refrigerated. PLACE all the ingredients in a heavy nonaluminum large saucepan over medium heat. Cover and simmer for about 12 minutes, or until the apples are slightly softened. UNCOVER and continue cooking, stirring occasionally to break up the large pieces, for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the apples are soft but there is still some texture. Adjust the seasoning with more syrup, ground cinnamon, and/or lemon juice. Remove from the heat, let cool, and chill before serving. Yield: Makes about 4 cups.
  • Crispy Potato-Apple Pancakes 1 medium onion, quartered 2 large eggs 2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes 1 gala apple, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes Salt and freshly ground pepper 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder Vegetable oil for frying Maple Cinnamon Apple Sauce (see recipe) Sour cream, for serving PUREE the onion and eggs together in a food processor until smooth and fluffy. Add the potatoes and apple, and pulse until the mixture is finely chopped but still retains some texture. Add the salt, pepper, flour and baking power, and quickly process to combine. Do not over-process. POUR the batter into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Let the batter sit for 15 minutes, covered with plastic wrap to prevent discoloration. HEAT 3/4 inch of oil in a large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat. Pour a tablespoon of batter into the skillet to test the oil. If it is hot enough, the pancake will begin to sizzle and brown. Spoon tablespoons of the batter into the skillet, making sure that there is a little room between each pancake. Flatten them with the back of a spoon and use the spatula to round out the sides if necessary. FRY the pancakes until they are golden brown on one side, and then turn them and brown the other side TRANSFER the pancakes to a cookie sheet lined with two layers of paper towels. Allow the excess oil to drain. If serving immediately, place the pancakes on a platter and serve with Maple Cinnamon Apple Sauce and sour cream. Yield: Serves 4 to 6 (makes 12-14 pancakes). If made in advance: To freeze the potato pancakes, lay them on a double sheet of aluminum foil and enclose the pancakes tightly in the foil. Make sure the pancakes are cool and then place on a flat surface in the freezer. When ready to serve, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and place the foil packets on a baking sheet. Remove the top sheet of foil so that the pancakes will bake easily. Bake the frozen pancakes for 5 to 8 minutes until they are brown and crispy.

Latkes – crispy potato pancakes – are the star dish for a Hanukkah party. But, honestly, they’re a wonderful dish year-round.

This version combines the Idaho russet with diced apple. The starch and moisture in the russet potato helps the pancakes keep their shape and fry crisply, while the apple adds a faint sweet flavor. Maple-flavored applesauce is the perfect complement.

I am a fan of the following no-fail method that uses the food processor instead of grating the potatoes, onion and apple by hand: Puree the eggs and onions in the food processor until fluffy and then pulse in potato and apple chunks until they resemble finely grated potatoes. I usually test a bit of the mixture in hot oil before I start cooking a batch of latkes to make sure they are seasoned just right. You’ll be happy to know you can make this recipe ahead of time.

Here are a few more tips:

• Wear old clothes when frying, as you will smell like fried oil when you are finished.

• Use vegetable oil.

• Use nonstick skillets and a wide spatula.

• Cook latkes on medium-high heat.

• This recipe doubles or triples if you are having a crowd. I like to use a small ice cream scoop to drop the latkes into the hot oil. Or use a ladle or large tablespoon.

• Have a flat wire strainer nearby to collect any particles that stay in the oil; if the oil becomes too dirty, discard and begin again.

• Don’t crowd the pan or the oil temperature will drop and the pancakes will be oily.

• Put the pancakes on paper towels to drain oil before serving.

Diane Rossen Worthington is the author of 20 cookbooks and a James Beard award-winning radio show host. seriouslysimple.com

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