Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Hanukkah Latkes

Well, there's not much more I can do to prepare for Christmas at this point - we're heading down to Suffolk on Friday night, so anything that hasn't been done by now probably never will be.  (Tomorrow night will be negatively productive as Jon's flat is hosting a Christmas dinner.  Who wants to wait till the 25th?  Not us.)

Jon's family has a lot of traditions for Christmas that are set in stone, but they've very generously made room in this weekend's craziness for something new: Hanukkah!  The Festival of Lights started last night and so I'm going to make latkes for the whole mishpocha on Christmas Eve.

antique menorah bought in Berlin in 2007

I emailed my mother in the hopes that she would send me her trusty latke recipe, but she's one of those really obnoxious cooks who does everything by feel and doesn't use measurements so she turned out to be not so helpful.  (Love you, Mü!)  I did some research on the interwebs for good options - the creative ones look amazing, like Ina's zucchini pancakes and these baked ones with sweet potatoes as well as these stuffed with apples and cheese and Bon Appétit's variety with mushrooms - but I think that, as it's Jon's family's first Hanukkah, we should stick with the simple classic latke:

1 lbs potatoes
1/2 c finely chopped onion
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 to 3/4 c olive oil

Preheat overn to 250*F.  Peel potatoes and grate by hand, transferring to a large bowl of cold water as grated.  Soak potatoes 1-2 minutes after last batch is added to water, then drain well in a colander.

Spread grated potatoes and onion on a kitchen towel and roll up.  Twist towel tightly to wring out as much liquid as possible.  Transfer potato/onion to a bowl and stir in the egg and salt.

Heat 1/4 c il in a large non-stick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking.  Spoon 2 tbs of latke mixture into skillet, forming into rounds as necessary with the back of the spoon.  Reduce heat to moderate and cook until undersides are crispy, about 5 minutes.  Turn latkes over and cook the other side until crispy, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to paper towels to drain and season with salt.  Add more oil to the skillet as needed and repeat until all of the batter is used.  Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in the oven.

Serve with sour cream and apple sauce and enjoy!

By the way, if you still need a holiday present for yourself... you should enter my GIVEAWAY!  Only three more days to try your chances!


  1. Hi Betsy! I am a recent reader (a fellow American living in London). I really enjoy reading your blog!

    Thanks for sharing your latke recipe -- it sounds so delicious and easy to prepare. Can't wait to try it this weekend!

    Do you have any suggestions on where to find applesauce in the UK? I haven't had any luck :(

    Wishing you a Happy Hanukkah and a Merry Christmas!


  2. Hey Annie, thanks for stopping by - I'm so glad you're enjoying the blog! Where are you from and what brought you to London?

    Regarding the latke recipe - my Mom recommends that you throw in some matzoh meal to help it all bind. Jon's aunt is celiac, so I might skip that for one batch, but it's probably worth trying.

    I didn't see applesauce at Tesco but you can definitely find it at Waitrose! Now to find non-alcoholic hot apple cider, which seems to not exist in this county...

    Happy all!

  3. Hi Betsy,

    I grew up in the western US (Idaho and Oregon) and came to London in 2006 to do a masters at the LSE. :)

    I've tried my two nearest waitrose shops (Edgware road and Bayswater) with no luck. At which waitrose branch did you find it? I will make my way there immediately if not sooner!

  4. Sorry for the delay - I found some at the Waitrose at Finchley Road but also you can order it from Ocado if you get desperate!


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