Frying up some latkes

Frying up some latkes

It’s December and my thoughts turn to - latkes!  If you’re an Ashkenazi Jew, no Chanukah celebration is complete until the latkes are on the table.  Do you like them thick or thin? With onions or without?  What’s your favorite topping? Is it applesauce, sour cream, or - like my father - sugar? 

Have you ever made your own applesauce? If you have, it’s really hard to go back to the jarred version.  Below, you’ll find recipes for a traditional version for potato latkes and applesauce. 

Potato Latkes

  • 3 pounds Yukon Gold or white potatoes, unpeeled and scrubbed clean
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup matzo meal
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Vegetable or canola oil

The easiest way to make quantities of latkes is to use a food processor.  I once made 100 latkes and it’s much easier to utilize the processor instead of grating them by hand. You want a neutral oil for frying, not olive oil..

  1. If using the food processor, cut potatoes and onion in fourths and process, using the chopping blade.  If not, grate potatoes and onion by hand.
  2. Add eggs, then matzo meal and salt.  If mixture seems loose, add a little more matzo meal.
  3. Preheat a large frying pan to medium high heat.  Put enough oil in to cover the bottom.  Latkes aren’t deep fried.  Take 1/4-1/3 cup of latke mix and put into pan. Make sure they don’t touch. Flatten slightly with the back of  a spoon if you like thin latkes.  Turn down heat a little if they seem to be frying too quickly.  When browned, turn and fry the other side.  When done, remove immediately and place on a paper towel lined plate or rack. Salt the latkes. 

How to Freeze and Reheat Latkes

If you’re making a big quantity of latkes, making them ahead is a great option.

Take completely cooled latkes and place on a cookie sheet. Put them in the freezer.  Once frozen, put into freezer bags with parchment paper or wax paper between layers.

When it’s party time, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Place frozen latkes in a single layer on a cookie sheet.  Bake 15-20 minutes until piping hot.

Homemade Applesauce

  • 7 cooking apples, peeled, cored, and cut in half
  • 1/3-1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • Cinnamon
  1. Put apples, sugar and water into a pot.  
  2. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  
  3. If you like chunky applesauce, use a potato masher until the applesauce is the desired consistency.  If you like smooth applesauce, process in a blender or food processor. 
  4. Add cinnamon to taste.
  5. Applesauce can be frozen

Happy Chanukah!

- Marsha Wilson