One of the traditional dishes for Hanukkah is latkes a.k.a. potato pancakes. I was curious as to the latkes’ origins, so I did a bit of research and found a juicy story on The Jewish Outreach to share.
“Originally, latkes were made of cheese. Eventually, the custom grew to incorporate eating pancakes of all kinds.
“During the Middle Ages, Jews explained this custom by connecting it with the story of Judith, which they linked with the story of Hanukkah.
“Judith, according to legend, was a daughter of the Hasmoneans. She fed cheese to the leader of the enemies of the Jews. He was made thirsty by the cheese and began to drink much wine. When he grew quite drunk she cut off his head. For this reason, it was said, Jews eat cheese delicacies on Hanukkah.”
It’s a bit of a mystery how cheese latkes morphed into potato latkes, but it more than likely had something to do with the fact that the main potato crop become available about the time of Hanukkah.
Here follows an updated, healthier, Our Lady of Weight Loss approved version of the Latke. Baked, not fried!
4 medium baking potatoes
1 medium, Vidalia onion (sweet)
1 large egg
2 egg whites
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp all purpose flour
salt and pepper, to taste
Caviar or Lox
Preheat oven to 450F.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease with oil or cooking spray.
Wash and dry potatoes (no peeling necessary!)
Grate, using a coarse grater.
Peel onion and grate with coarse grater.
Combine potato and onion in a colander firmly press down to remove excess moisture.
Place “the combo” in a medium sized bowl and stir in egg, baking soda, flour, salt n’ paper.
Using a fair sized spoon (a nice sized serving spoon; bigger than a tablespoon) drop “the mixture” onto the baking sheet, thus making 3 inch pancakes that are approximately 1/4 inch thick (more or less). Thing is that the pancakes should be the same size, so when you plate them, it’s all aesthetically appealing.
Bake for approximately 18 minutes, until the bottom of the pancakes are light brown. Turn pancakes over and baked an addition 12 minutes, until golden pretty and cooked through on the other side!
Serve hot a dollop of sour cream on top, topped with a dollop of caviar!
Spread the word–NOT the icing!