Thursday, December 13, 2012
FROM WORLD VEGAN FEAST, SWEET POTATO AND YUKON GOLD LATKES (POTATO PANCAKES) WITH MAPLE-PECAN GRILLED PEARS
I'm attending a Hanukkah party tonight, which reminded me that there are only three more days left of Hanukkah, and I wanted to share a favorite latke recipe from my book "World Vegan Feast".
According to the Free Dictionary, latke means "A pancake, especially one made of grated potato.[Yiddish, from Ukrainian oladka,]". As you probably know, they are traditional fare in many Jewish homes during Hanukkah, usually fried in plenty of oil to celebrate the miracle of the Hanukkah oil. But what if you are vegan and you are trying to cut back on fat?
Good news-- yes, you can make delicious latkes without eggs and with only a small amount of oil (or even no oil-- see the alternative cooking methods below the recipe). This is my "fancy pants" recipe, but, if you don't want to bother with the grilled pears, you can serve them simply with the traditional applesauce and with Tofu Sour Creme (homemade or commercial) or Cashew Sour Creme. (You could even be a rebel and serve them with cranberry sauce.)
BRYANNA'S SWEET POTATO AND YUKON GOLD LATKES (POTATO PANCAKES) WITH MAPLE-PECAN GRILLED PEARS
Serves 4 (Can be Gluten-Free and Soy-Free)
A recipe from my book "World Vegan Feast"
This is a beautiful dish and a luscious combination of cold season vegetables and fruits. It can be the centerpiece for an elegant brunch at any time of the year, but is spectacular for a Hanukkah meal. This recipe can be easily multiplied as needed. The pears can be cooked ahead of time and the pancakes can be made earlier in the day, transferred to baking sheets (any size), covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated until just before cooking and serving.
Maple-Pecan Grilled Pears:
4 medium-sized ripe, but firm, pears, peeled, cored and thinly-sliced
4 teaspoons vegan butter, melted (try my homemade palm oil-free vegan Buttah)
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons maple syrup
1/4 cup lightly-toasted chopped pecans
Latkes (Potato Pancakes):
2 2/3 cups shredded peeled sweet potato
2 2/3 cups shredded scrubbed Yukon Gold potato
1 medium onion, shredded
1/2 cup whole wheat flour (or a gluten-free flour mix)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
freshly-ground black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons cooking oil for frying
Tofu Sour Cream or Cashew Sour Cream
Make the Grilled Pears before you start the pancakes. Turn on the broiler in your oven and place the rack on the top setting. You want the pears to be about 3 to 4 inches below the heat source. Transfer the sliced pears to a baking sheet (any size) and toss the slices with the melted vegan butter. Broil the pears until they start to brown around the edges. Stir gently and broil further, but don't burn them or make them too soggy.
Remove from the oven when they look appetizingly “grilled” but still hold their shape, and scoop them gently into a shallow bowl. Drizzle with the maple syrup and add the pecans, folding gently. Set aside.
To make the Latkes (Pancakes): Transfer both the shredded sweet potatoes and potatoes to a large square of cheesecloth (fine mesh, or layers of the coarser kind) or cotton cloth, gather in the corners and squeeze and twist them to remove as much of the liquid you can. This is important!Transfer the squeezed, shredded potatoes (both kinds) to a large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and pepper. Add this mixture to the potatoes and mix well. (TIP: This mixture is more solid than the traditional egg-y latke batter.)
Divide the potato mixture into 12 equal "balls". Press the balls down on a sheet of baking parchment on your work surface or on a 12 x 17-inch baking sheet, to make pancake shapes.
Heat the half of the oil in a large nonstick, cast iron or hard-anodized skillet and carefully transfer the 6 latkes to the skillet using a thin non-metal spatula-turner. Fry the latkes in the hot oil over medium-high heat until golden and crispy on both sides. Repeat with the rest of the oil and latkes.
Serve the latkes hot and fresh, topped with the Grilled Pears and offer Tofu Sour Cream or Cashew Sour Cream on the side.
ALTERNATIVE FAT-FREE COOKING METHODS:
#1.) You can cook these latkes on several large nonstick, cast iron or hard-anodized skillets, lightly-sprayed with oil from a pump sprayer, over medium-high heat. However, the easiest way is to use a nonstick electric pancake griddle-- this accommodates quite a few pancakes and they cook evenly.
Place 1/4-cupfuls of the potato mixture onto the preheated griddle or skillets. flatten them into thin pancakes with a spatula. Cover pans with lids or foil, or use inverted cookie sheets over the griddle. Cook until the bottoms are golden-brown, then flip them over and cook, uncovered, until the second side is golden-brown. Serve hot.
#2) Preheat the oven to 500°F. Flatten the pancakes as instructed above on nonstick cookie sheets, lightly-sprayed with oil from a pump sprayer, or with cooking spray. Bake them for 15 minutes, then turn the pancakes over and bake 5 or 6 minutes more.