Sweet Potato Latkes

Eric Flescher via Ruth Tepper

Food Editor's Notes:  There is nothing like an old-fashioned potato latke on Chanukah.  But after a few nights, you might want to try something a little different.  I've seen recipes for latkes made with carrots, zucchini, and even celery root.  But this recipe has the familiar starchy white potato as a main ingredient, with the added color, nutrition, and taste of sweet potato.  If you are open to a latke variation, you will find this to be really delicious, a side dish that can be made year-round in fact.  This recipe came to us from my friend Ruth Tepper, who got it from her brother Eric Flescher.  He says "if you have not tried Sweet Potato Pancakes you are really missing another [Chanukah] treat."  I would agree, as would two of my son's friends and one father who were passing through as the latkes were coming out of the pan and became my taste-testers.  They voted a definite thumbs-up.  The latkes can be served plain, with sour cream, or with just a sprinkling of salt or sugar (my preference!).  And they can be made ahead of time, stored in the fridge, and then reheated at a high temperature for a few minutes (preferably in a convection oven, to stay crispy).  Enjoy!

1/2 medium yellow onion
1/2 pound Yukon Gold potato (about 1 large or 2 medium)
1/2 pound sweet potato (about 1 medium)
2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch cayenne
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Vegetable oil for frying


Place a wire rack on a baking sheet.  Peel the onion and cut into several chunks.  Mix the flour, salt, and cayenne together in a small bowl, lightly beat the egg in a separate small bowl, and peel the potatoes.  Pour 1/4 inch of vegetable oil in a large heavy pan and place over medium-high heat. 

While the oil is heating, prepare the batter.  Chop the onion finely in a food processor using the steel blade.  Scrape down the sides and chop again.  Remove the steel blade and put the grating blade in the processor.  Cut the potatoes to fit in the feed tube and, with the machine running, grate the potatoes using medium pressure.  Immediately remove the cover and blade, stir gently to mix the ingredients, and pour into a dish towel and squeeze out any excess liquid.  [Food Editor's note:  You can hand-grate the onion and potatoes if you wish, instead of using a food processor.]

Pour the mixture in a medium bowl.  Add the flour, salt, and cayenne and toss.  Then add the lightly beaten egg and mix thoroughly.

When the oil is hot (water drops will sizzle), carefully place scant 1/4 cups of the latke mixture into the oil.  Gently press down with a fork to form pancakes approximately 3 inches in diameter.  Make sure to leave lots of room so the latkes can brown quickly and evenly.  Cook until just golden, turning once, about 2-3 minutes per side.  Transfer to the wire rack to let excess oil drip off.  If you are serving these immediately, the pan with the rack can be placed in a preheated 200-degree oven to keep the latkes warm; otherwise, let the latkes cool on the counter, place on paper towels to absorb even more of the oil, and then refrigerate until later.  Reheat at a high temperature (preferably in a convection oven at 450 degrees) for a few minutes until hot and crispy.

Yield: 12 latkes

Ruth Tepper lives in Newton and is very active in the Jewish community, particularly in Temple Emanuel, where she has participated in Sisterhood cooking demonstrations.  She says her brother is a very good cook as well.
Sweet Potato Latkes