Just when I’m starting to recover from the gluttony fest known as Thanksgiving, bam! It’s already time for Hanukkah. Bring on the fried. Growing up, my Mom cooked both traditional and sweet potato latkes every year for my brother and me. We looked forward to these tasty fried treats almost as much as getting the latest Everclear CD or a new set of Pogs, hypothetically speaking of course.
I continue the tradition by cooking for our annual Chrismukkah gathering and showing my friends that latkes are way more than a Jewish hash brown. Last year, I served up Mexican Potato Latkes, which were gobbled up faster than you can say “chag sameach.” This year, inspired by my leftover cranberries from Thanksgiving, I went with a slightly sweet approach. Coconut gives the latkes a subtle flavor and extra crunch, while the cranberry applesauce and cardamom mascarpone brings a tartness that lends itself to the perfect bite. Since I am not hopeful of having a white Hanukkah with the 80-degree weather we have be having in my home in Austin, TX, I garnished the plate with extra coconut to resemble snow. Wishful thinking, perhaps?
Amy Kritzer is a food writer and recipe developer in Austin, TX who enjoys cooking, theme parties and cowboys. She challenges herself to put a spin on her grandmother’s traditional Jewish recipes and blogs about her endeavors at What Jew Wanna Eat. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook and watch her cooking videos on Google+.
2 cups (2/3 pound) russet potatoes, washed and peeled
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 Tbsps flour
2 Tbsps granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
½ cup canola oil
For Cranberry Applesauce
3 pounds apples (any apples you would use for baking, I used golden delicious), peeled and diced
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
2 Tbsps granulated sugar (up to 4 if you want it sweeter)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground all spice
Zest and juice from 1 orange
2/3 cup water (1/2 cup if using frozen cranberries)
1 Tbsp brandy (if desired)
For Cardamom Mascarpone:
¼ cup mascarpone
1 tsp cardamom (or more to taste)
To make the Coconut Latkes, start by shredding your potatoes with a grater.
Ring out all the moisture with a strainer and paper towel until all the moisture is gone and then add in the coconut, eggs, flour, sugar and salt and combine.
Meanwhile, heat up canola oil in a large sauté pan. Scoop two-tablespoon dollops of the potato mixture and flatten lightly and fry until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Then flip and fry the other side. Drain on a rack over paper towels.
To make Cranberry Applesauce, in a large saucepan, combine apples, cranberries, sugar, spices, orange juice and zest, water, and brandy if desired.
Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cover, and cook for 15 minutes until apples are tender and some of the cranberries have burst. Stir every so often, adding water if it gets too thick.
Remove from heat and let cool. Blend with an immersion blender or smash with a fork.
To make Cardamom Mascarpone, combine cardamom and mascarpone in a bowl until blended.
Garnish latkes with applesauce and mascarpone!
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.