Can you think of a better marriage between two traditions? An Ashkenazi Hanukkah favorite paired with the Middle Eastern Sephardic flavors of dates and tahini. Talk about a match made in heaven!
But the truth is, everyone loves latkes, regardless of their background. There’s something about the crispy, shredded potatoes that no one can resist. And even though we didn’t grow up eating them (it was all about sufganiyot for us), we make them for our family every year…and not only during Hanukkah!
This year we wanted to go the sweet route, since we’ve always made savory latkes. We added Gala apples, cinnamon and cardamom to the batter. The simple yet delicious dipping sauce combines tahini and silan, a sweet, dark amber-colored syrup made from dates and water.
The inspiration for this sauce comes from a tahini-silan spread our parents used to eat when we were kids. They would serve it on a plate with big pieces of pita or French baguette. Consider it the Middle Eastern PB&J!
For the Latkes:
2 large Gala apples, shredded
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, shredded
1 1/2 tsp salt divided
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp cardamom
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup grapeseed or avocado oil
For the Tahini Silan Sauce:
3 Tbsp tahini paste
3 Tbsp silan (100% date syrup)
Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place shredded potatoes and apples in a colander, with a bowl underneath. Sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon of salt and mix well. Let stand for 10 minutes (the potatoes and apples will release some liquid).
Using a cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel, ring out excess moisture from the grated potatoes and apples (make sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible).
Add the rest of the salt, cinnamon, cardamom, egg and cornstarch and mix well. Using your hands, form 12-15 small latkes.
Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet and drop about 5 latkes at a time. Cook over medium heat, 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown. Place them on a plate lined with paper towels to absorb excess oil. Repeat the process with the remaining latkes, adding more oil if necessary.
Transfer the cooked latkes to the lined baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until crispy.
Pronounced: KHAH-nuh-kah, also ha-new-KAH, an eight-day festival commemorating the Maccabees’ victory over the Greeks and subsequent rededication of the temple. Falls in the Hebrew month of Kislev, which usually corresponds with December.