Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Apple-Cinnamon Latkes…I Mean Fritters…Or Is It a Pancake?

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A good way to keep cooking interesting and exciting is to find a recipe that's the exact opposite of anything you would typically prepare. That’s how I came about preparing these Apple-Cinnamon Latkes, a recipe for a traditional Hanukkah celebration.

I happened upon this recipe in a past issue of Canadian Living Magazine. My first thought was it looked tasty yet it wasn’t the type of dish I usually prepare. For starters each latke is fried in oil (hard to put a healthy spin on that), you have to beat egg whites into stiff peaks (I prefer mountain peaks) and this dish is more of a traditional Hanukkah dish which I don’t celebrate being a Polish, Italian, English Canadian. Sadly most of my knowledge about this Jewish celebration comes from Adam Sandler’s song “Happy Hanukkah”. I really need to spend more time learning about other cultures. Yet I’m a sucker for anything made with apples and cinnamon so I had to give this recipe a try. Plus I figured it would be fun working my way through a new dish.

Making the batter is really easy. My only advice would be to use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites unless you have some serious skills with a whisk. Once the batter is prepared all you have to do is fry it in oil.


Two things occurred to me during this stage. The first was that I was listening to Christmas tunes while making a traditional Hanukkah dish and the second was that I realized the frying stage was clearly the key step to making or breaking this dish. I figured this is where grandma or aunt whomever knows exactly how cook it to perfection. As for me, I was learning the ropes along the way. I didn’t exactly start out too well as my first few were super thick. Once I began to flatten the batter in the oil until it was about ¼-inch thick they began to cook and look much better.

In the end the biggest obstacle was I had no idea how they were supposed to turn out. Mine ended up being crispy around the outside edges and more like a soft pancake in the middle. I think the entire latke is supposed to be crispy but I’m not entirely sure (if someone could shed some light on this for me I would be most grateful). It didn’t really matter. With a few sliced apples and a dusting of icing sugar on top my apple latke, fritter, pancake (whatever you want to call it) tasted really good! I admit there were a few bumps along the way but it was fun trying a dish I would normally pass-over.

Apple-Cinnamon Latkes

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4 apples, cored, peeled and grated
2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
Pinch salt
2 eggs, separated (egg whites from egg yolks)
¾ cup cold water
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
Vegetable oil
Icing Sugar

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In a medium bowl, combine apples, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Toss to coat apples. Set aside.

In a separate medium bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form (Here is more information on what this all means).

In a large bowl, whisk egg yolks with cold water. Whisk in flour and cinnamon until mixture is almost smooth and a few lumps remain. Stir in apple mixture. Fold in egg whites.

I a skillet, heat ½-inch (1 cm) oil over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Scoop in ¼ cup apple mixture. With a spoon flatten to ¼-inch thickness. Fry until deep golden brown, turning once, about 4 to 5 minutes. Drain on paper towels. (Once you get the hang of it you can begin cooking two at the same time). Repeat process with remaining batter adding more oil as necessary. Let slightly cool and sift icing sugar on top. Serve.

Volume Makes 20 latkes

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The Kitchen Roadie
brent@cookapalooza.com

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