Baked latkes redux: easier than ever

baked latkes with applesauce

So OK.  I’ve already covered latkes in this blog. And it wasn’t even that long ago: Dec. 18, 2008, to be precise. Just in time for Chanukah.

But latkes – potato pancakes – are a subject worth bringing up again. Because frankly, they’re NOT just for Chanukah. You don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy them; all you have to be is a lover of salty crunchy fried stuff, which covers probably 90% of us.

And I’ve found yet another, even easier way to make them.

No frying pan; no grease-spattered clothes. And now, no grating potatoes, and no wringing out the liquid in a dish towel.

And, since they’re oven-baked and ready all at once, no standing at the stove flipping latke after latke while the rest of the family eats.

Impossible, you say? “You can’t make REAL latkes without grating raw potatoes.”

Oh yeah? Just watch me…

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Not only can you make good latkes without grating raw potatoes – you also don’t have to start with russets, as most traditional recipes do. How about yellow potatoes, or Yukon Golds? Start with 3 medium potatoes, about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds. Peel them.

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Here’s method #1: Boiling the potatoes. Cut each potato into about 6 chunks, then cut each chunk in half again. Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan. Cover with about 4 cups of water; the water should cover the potatoes by about 1/2”. Add 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons salt to the water (yes, tablespoons; use the greater amount if you like saltier latkes).

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Boil the potatoes for about 8 minutes, or until they’re fork tender.

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Drain them in a colander.

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Want to use russets (e.g., Burbank) or another baking potato instead? We can do that. Method #2: microwaving. Start with 3 medium potatoes, 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds. Peel them.

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Cut each potato into about 6 chunks. Place them on a microwave-safe plate, and sprinkle with 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, to taste (more if you like a saltier latke).

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Cover the plate with plastic wrap, and microwave for about 10 minutes, till the potatoes are soft.

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See how easily they break apart? They shouldn’t offer your fork any resistance.

Allow the potatoes to cool a bit while you shred or finely dice 1 medium onion, whisk 1 large egg, and preheat the oven to 400°F to 425°F (425°F if you feel your oven runs a bit cool). The oil has to be hot enough to sizzle the latkes as they cook. If you put them into the oven and after several minutes they’re just sitting there, and not sizzling, increase the oven temperature.

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Whichever type of potato you’ve used, the next step is to put them through a potato ricer. You can use your grandma’s old metal version, or one of the sleek new acrylic ricers. Whichever you choose, if it has removable plates, use the coarsest one.

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Rice about 1/3 of the cooked potatoes into a bowl.

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Sprinkle with half the onions and 1 tablespoon of King Arthur Unbleached all-Purpose Flour, and drizzle with about half the beaten egg. Rice another third of the potatoes into the bowl, and sprinkle with the remaining onions and 1 tablespoon flour; drizzle with the remaining egg. Rice the remaining potatoes into the bowl.

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Gently combine all of the ingredients. Don’t stir too much; you don’t want potato purée.

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Line two rimmed baking sheets with easy-release aluminum foil (see below). Or simply get out two rimmed baking sheets.

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I’ve seen the light. For no-mess, no-stick oven-baked latkes, grab yourself a roll of this non-stick aluminum foil. Works like a charm.

Pour 1/4 cup oil into each pan, tilting the pans to spread it around. Place one of the pans into the oven, and allow the oil to heat for 2 minutes. This step isn’t necessary if you use easy-release aluminum foil, but helps avoid sticking if you’re using plain aluminum foil.

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If you’ve heated the pan, remove it from the oven. Scoop a heaping 1/4 cup of potatoes onto the pan; a muffin scoop works well here.

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See? Potatoes slide right out of the scoop in a nice, even ball.

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Repeat till you’ve scooped 6 or 7 latkes onto the pan. Using the back of a spoon (or your fingers – be careful!), gently flatten the latkes to about 3/8” thick.

Repeat with the second pan and the remaining potatoes.

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Bake the latkes for 10 minutes, till they’re deep brown on the bottom. Flip them over. If they seem to be sticking to the pan, let them bake awhile longer; this often helps. Make sure their bottoms are a very deep brown before you flip them.

Reverse the pans as you return them to the oven — upper pan to the lower rack, lower pan to the upper rack.

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Bake for an additional 15 minutes, till the bottoms of the latkes are golden brown.

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Remove from the oven. Now isn’t THAT a sight! Are you drooling yet?

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Here’s what the same process looks like without foil. It works – you’ll just have more cleanup.

Also, let me reiterate here – use the full 1/4 cup of oil called for in each pan. If you try to skimp and cut calories, not only do you not get the full latke effect; you end up scraping stuck latkes off the pan.

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Drain on paper towels just prior to serving.

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In fact, I just serve the latkes right on paper towels. Since we have three veteran Jewish cooks/latke aficionados on our Web team, any latkes I make go right onto the table in our office. From which they quickly disappear.

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Jim approves. Not sure they’re as good as his wife Joanna’s, but he surely enjoyed them.

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Now, since you can’t serve latkes without applesauce, let’s make applesauce – the easy way.

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First, pick your apples. Literally, and figuratively. Here are my favorite standby, available throughout the year: Granny Smiths.

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And here’s another year-round apple: Braeburn. Or maybe it was Fuji, Or Gala. All three are similar, and equally good. Notice you don’t need perfect apples for applesauce. In fact, sauce is a great way to use up your bumped-and-bruised, getting-old apples.

Start with 1 3/4 to 2 pounds apples. It’s a workable amount, and the recipe scales up easily, for when you have more apples.

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Here’s a key to great applesauce: boiled cider. Thick and tangy-sweet, it enhances the flavor of anything apple.

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There’s no need to peel the apples. Just core, and slice into chunks. An apple corer/slicer works very well here.

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Just push down, and remove the core.

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Put the apples in a microwave-safe bowl.

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Cover with plastic wrap, and microwave for about 10 minutes, till the apples are soft.

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Remove from the microwave, and place on the counter to cool for 15 minutes or so; the plastic wrap will shrink down onto the apples.

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Carefully remove the plastic wrap (the apples will still be warm).

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Mash the apples using a pastry blender or potato masher.

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If you’ve left the peels on the apples, use a hand (stick) blender to coarsely chop skins/sauce. Blend as smooth as you like; I like my applesauce fairly chunky.

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Add sugar to taste, and boiled cider, if desired, for enhanced flavor. For 2 pounds of mildly tart apples, I like about 2 to 4 tablespoons of sugar, and 2 tablespoons boiled cider. On the left is the sauce from the red apples; on the right, the Granny Smith sauce.

Feel free to use your own favorite varieties. I usually use windfall apples from a friend’s tree; I don’t even know what kind they are. Be advised that some apples cook up softer than others. Macs, for instance, cook quickly, and will need less time in the microwave.

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At last! We’ve reached the finish line. Homemade latkes, homemade applesauce. Where’s the homemade sour cream?

Read, rate, and review (please!) our recipe for Oven Latkes with Homemade Applesauce.

P.S. So I was making these at home tonight, and could I find my grandmother’s potato ricer? NO, I could not. Hot boiled potatoes, ready to make latkes for supper… light dawns on Marblehead! I used my food processor with the coarse shredding disk. Worked like an absolute charm. So if you have a food processor/shredding disk, go for it.

Buy vs. Bake

Buy: Stage Deli, New York City: Three latkes with applesauce and sour cream, $16.95

Blake & Todd, New York City: Side order of one potato pancake (latke), $2.65

Make at home: Three latkes with applesauce and sour cream, $1.24

One potato pancake (latke), 18¢

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Anne

    Mmmmm, oh my. I could see adding some pepper, and maybe a little minced green onion (I like the flecks.) This will be dinner at my house very soon!

    Reply
  2. Dee

    I just bought some Yukon Gold potatoes today at the farmers’ market, but I don’t have a ricer. Is this absolutely necessary?

    To make them this way, Dee, yes, a ricer is necessary. Without a ricer, try our Easy-Does-It Latkes instead, OK? PJH

    Reply
    1. Bobbie Lamont

      My niece used a box grater with steamed, peel-on russets and the texture came out great (grate).
      This is an EXCELLENT recipe, the hassle saving of not dealing with raw potAtoes, not dealing with fry pan, and using NONSTICK foil….each innovation is huge in the ease factor. And the latkes were brown and DELICIOUS. She added dill and rosemary and did some with sweet potAroes. Thank you ! You have created new family tradition for us.

  3. cindy leigh

    Hey, it’s a holiday! You should be enjoying a day off!!

    OHHHH… And here I thought “Labor Day” was a command! :) PJH

    Reply
  4. Lish

    I was thinking about latkes today, so this is perfectly timed! These look great, and so much easier. I already have some homemade applesauce in the freezer, so halfway there! I love when the blog is on a dinner type food instead of dessert. Makes me feel less guilty! Thanks and keep up the awesome work!

    Reply
  5. John

    Wow, this looks exactly like making gnocchi but at the last second, putting it on a hot sheet pan instead or rolling it out and boiling. Hmm…

    Similar ingredients, John (except for the onion); but unlike for gnocchi the potatoes aren’t smooth, and gnocchi has a bit more flour. Still, wonder what would happen if you fried gnocchi dough? PJH

    Reply
  6. Elizabeth

    Oh, if only my smoke alarm were not oversensitive…these look amazing.

    Elizabeth, my husband and son just roll their eyes when I cook, because I often set off every alarm in the house. Sensitive, sensitive! But better to be sensitive, in case you really DO need to be alerted to something beyond frying potatoes… PJH

    Reply
  7. Lorrainesfav

    Another great idea from your test kitchen PJ! I am always thinking of ways to avoid frying and just have to give this idea a try. I was thinking they would go great with oven fried chicken and lighted up buttermilk biscuits.

    Sounds like a “three-fer,” Lorraine – hope you’ve got a nice, big oven! PJH

    Reply
  8. Shirley

    Errr… what temperature should the oven be (pre-)heated to and/or baked at? I feel dense, but I can’t seem to find that instruction. Looks yummy… may need to go buy a ricer!
    Hi Shirley,
    The oven temp is 400°. It’s listed right about the ricer photos. Happy Baking! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  9. dsv

    skip cooking the potato part, I buy the shredded potatoes in the refrig section at the grocery (in Michigan they come in a green bag).
    But gotta go, going to try these with the last egg I have left in the frig!
    Not only Jewish love these, this was a staple Friday evening meal for Polish Catholics!

    Reply
  10. AJ

    Darn! Wish I had Mom’s old ricer! However, I am a BIG potato lover. How big you ask? Let’s just say that if you told me I’d have to choose between a bowl of buttery mashed spuds or a bowl of chocolate pudding, I’d choose potatoes! That said, I like to microwave my potatoes (like you do for baked), until they are just done, take them out, wrap them in
    a towel and let cool for a bit. Then I cut a little bit off the end and proceed to grate them with my box grater (usually most, but not all of the skin will just peel back) then I’ll just put them in a frying pan and fry.
    Often I’ll do extra potatoes and put the extras (ungrated) in the fridge for later. I invision doing the grating and proceeding from there with your recipe.
    Thanks PJ, you’re wonderful!

    Reply
  11. Ellen

    I have added some chopped parsly to my potatoe mix. It brings out a wonderful flavor as an addition to the onoin and seasoning. I am not sure about a ricer. The texture of the shredded potato is very satisfying when enjoying traditional holiday foods. I think I would prefer to use the shredding blade on my food processor, which would require a sturdier potato, perhaps par cooked. Many of the premixed boxed versions give a too soft final result. I would want to avoid that end result.

    Reply
  12. Sara

    My grandmother made something like this, which I make a lot, too. We just use leftover mashed potatoes instead of riced potatoes and make little cakes out of them that are then fried or baked just as you say. Not latkes, but very yummy. I also make them sometimes with roasted garlic mixed in. Can’t wait to try yours! One word about your applesauce: if you’re cooking it for little folks, you really have to peel the apples first. Even after it’s been in the blender, I’ve found my applesauce (which I prefer skin-on), has some chunks of peel that my babies can’t handle. I think it’s because they’re expecting it to be smooth, you know?

    Excellent advice, Sara – Baby food definitely needs to be puréed. Thanks for reminding us! PJH

    Reply
  13. Kimberly D

    I will have to try this with my mom’s “tater” cakes. You take left over mashed potatoes and mix flour and egg and make patty and fry. I sometimes cheese to them or onions. I will have to bake them and see how they turn out.

    Reply
  14. Janknitz

    Come Hanukkah I will KISS you!!!!!!! We always have a big party on the last night when we light every candle on our 15 menorahs–we call it the Great Hanukkah Conflagration.

    Nothing is a bigger pain than grating and frying up all those latkes the night before. Now it will be a cinch.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Talk about it being “better to light just one little candle” – I’d love to see your “conflagration”! :) PJH

    Reply
  15. Julian

    I get that this is a baking blog, not a cooking blog, so figuring out how to bake things is the focus, but no self-respecting Jewish person (such as myself) or German/Eastern European person would call these “latkes.”

    I’m sure this recipe is tasty and all, but “latkes” are, pretty much by definition, fried. If it isn’t fried in oil then it kind of defeats the concept and is really just some kind of hash brown.

    Particularly at Chanukah time, the whole point of eating latkes is that they are fried in oil. That’s how they tie in to the holiday.

    As far as grating vs. ricing…my mom always just throws potatoes, onion, egg, seasoning…and matzah meal (which I don’t think is in the KAF repertoir yet) :-)…in a blender and makes a loose batter that gets scooped in to the oil. Of course that works not at all for baking purposes.

    I love KAF, your blog, your products, and all your recipes, so I’m sorry if I sound like a hater. I’m not…I promise…you ladies are generally awesome. :-)

    Thanks for your feedback, Julian. But I have to tell you – these ARE fried. In oil. In the oven, not a frying pan. They sizzle away there behind the oven door. I think we may just disagree about what constitutes frying, as far as the heat source – direct bottom heat in a frying pan, vs. heat from top and bottom oven elements. Sounds like a semantic issue. As for the matzoh – hey, we have to get the King Arthur Flour in there somehow, right?! PJH

    Reply
  16. slack

    The last time I made latkes in the oven, not with cooked potatoes,
    > though, 400 was not hot enough to keep the oil sizzling. I finally
    > had to scoop the mess out of the pan and use a frying pan. You may
    > wish to suggest that if the oil isn’t really sizzling to set the
    > oven higher.

    Good suggestion – I’ll add that, thanks. PJH

    Reply
  17. Tom

    Those look really,really, really good.

    How about doing the same thing with sweet potatoes? Or how about mixing in a little zucchini? Or even some winter squash? Or a couple of beets for color? Some carrots?

    I’m going to have to try some of these soon!

    -Tom

    Tom, I get in enough trouble just changing the method – not sure I can take the backlash of changing the ingredients, too! But you go ahead, and let us know how they are- esp. the sweet potato ones. PJH

    Reply
  18. Robin

    Ooooh, easy latkes! Thank you so much! This definitely qualifies as a mitzvah–you don’t have to grate the potatoes, wring them out in a dish towel and stand around frying them all evening!

    We just got enough GingerGold and Fuji apples to feed a small army, so a bunch of them will go into fresh applesauce to have with your wonderful recipe. Can’t wait to try it! :)

    Reply
  19. Robin

    Test bakers, hope you don’t mind if I pop back in to say to Tom, you can easily substitute sweet potatoes for white. I do it all the time for hash browns and oven fries. One caution: they do tend to not be as crisp as white potatoes, but you get a lot of wonderful flavor in return.

    I’ve also tried parsnips and turnips in place of potatoes in hash browns and they were delicious, with a pleasantly mild, slightly cabbagey taste in the case of the turnips. I don’t know about adding carrots or beets, but suspect the beets would ‘bleed’. Still, if you don’t mind eating purple latkes, have at it :)

    Okay, I’ll butt out now :)

    Reply
  20. HMB

    Had these for dinner tonight — they’re not traditional but they are good. Texture is certainly different, but not in a bad way. Certainly easy to clean up — thanks to that nonstick foil and the amount of oil (I think I could have gotten away with 1/3 cup oil rather than the 1/2 cup) and the oven-frying technique, which keeps your stovetop and backsplash and cabinets free of spattering oil. I think the poster who worried about setting off the smoke alarm could probably make these without worry.

    Reply
  21. Dana

    Yum! Is there any way these would work without the egg? We have egg allergies here, but LOVE potatoes and want to try these.

    Sure, Dana, make it without the egg – they’ll just perhaps be a bit looser, but still just as tasty. PJH

    Reply
  22. Sue Kimball

    I made latkes like this years ago when I used to go to my kids elementary school and make them for Hanukkah. With this method (cooked potatoes) I didn’t have to worry about the potatoes turning black! Everyone loved them and the smell of them cooking (I did use an electric frying pan) went through the whole school!

    Another good point, Sue – cooking first preserves the potatoes’ color. Thanks for sharing – PJH

    Reply
  23. Ali D

    Made them Sunday night to a delighted table of picky potato eaters. I was nervous and called them pancakes, but they ate, and ate and ate and ate and I hardly got any!!! Great easy recipe and worked perfectly. Thanks again.

    Reply
  24. Abby

    I am going to try these for a party, but want to do as much of the prep beforehand so that I can mingle with my guests. Can I mix up all the ingredients the day before (or even the morning of…) and then cook them as the guests are arriving?

    I’d say cook the potatoes ahead, then do the rest just before. OR do the whole thing ahead, and reheat cooked latkes in the microwave – they’ll be a touch less crispy, but you’ll have 100% of the time with your guests. PJH

    Reply
  25. Elise Meyer

    How about amending this recipe to avoid microwaving in plastic. otherwise, I am going to try this method this weekend.

    Elise, just go ahead and use a glass cover over the potatoes, in place of the plastic. Definitely the way to go if you fear the interaction of microwave/plastic… PJH

    Reply
  26. T.K. Whalen

    Sounds great – my only hesitation would be to use plastic wrap in the microwave – will a paper towel or another plate do?

    Thanks for the groovy recipe –

    T.K.

    T.K., a glass saucepan cover (or an up-ended glass or stoneware mixing bowl) will work just fine… PJH

    Reply
  27. Marilyn

    These look so good. I don’t have a ricer, but do have a food mill with a coarse blade. Would that work?

    Also, I’m glad to see that PJ is still on the blog. I missed your writing in the last few Baker’s Catalogue’s.

    Marilyn, a food mill would be absolutely perfect. And thanks for your kind comments – we’re simply broadening the KA voice in the catalogue. I’m still here (starting my 20th year!) – just focusing online, that’s all. PJH

    Reply
  28. Great-grandma B

    My mother always added some ground allspice to the kartoflane (potato) placki (pancakes) batter. I haven’t made them in years and at 86 if I remember correctly it was about a quater teaspoon to 4 medium Idahos. The allspice may be a Polish thing. Mom was from the Warsaw area. Her parents scraped together enough money to send only one child to friends in America. Mom drew the short straw. Can you imagine traveling across the ocean (c1910), alone, at fourteen, to a strange country and a strange language? I don’t think I’d be that brave.

    Love how we intertwine our cultural and food histories – thanks for adding to the “story” here. PJH

    Reply
  29. M C Strelow

    Thanks for this recipe/presentation ! All of my GrandParents emigrated to the US in the late 1800s. My Father’s Parents to a Farm in Nebraska, My Mother’s Parents to central Illinois. Growing up in a family of 13 children, I remember making/frying the Potatoe Pancakes (Laatkes), draining the oil off them a bit, then place them on a large platter in the warmed oven ’til finished and time to call the family to the dinner table. This meal goes outside of any “ethnic” cultural definition/ownership. Also, “HashBrowns” cannot be compared to these Potatoe Pancakes!

    Reply
  30. Caryn Hart

    I have been making latkes for years mostly two different ways. One, an original old-fashioned recipe, and also a more updated one from Cooks Illustrated. Both are quite labor intensive, but the results are really good. But when I saw this updated method on your site, almost always finding your recipes reliable, I thought I would give it a whirl last night, hoping to get similar results for the latkes with a bit less work.

    Here was the result: I am sorry to report that not only were the latkes not up to par, their consistency being more like sauteed mashed potato cakes (that were a bit too greasy), but the cleanup seemed even move than when making them using the traditional pan-frying method.

    So here is what I recommend to anyone who wants to make great latkes: Use a traditional recipe and make them ahead. Latkes will re-heat really nicely in an oven at about 375 and will be even better than eating them right away, plus they can be frozen.

    Thanks for the suggestion, Caryn – latkes reheat nicely in a microwave, too, if you time it just right. PJH

    Reply
  31. Jessica Schultz

    Loved your blog. I must try it out. I am tired of working and eating all that oil.
    As to the applesauce… I have been making it for many years. I am surprised to see you didn’t mention the best applesauce maker of all. It is the Cortland apple. We can’t get that apple down here in Florida and I would dearly love to find out how I can.
    My applesauce has very little sugar and plently of cinammon. My children and now my grandchildren love it and can’t understand why they don’t sell the Cortlands down here.
    Thank you for your instructions Jessica

    Reply
  32. alienor

    i looked forward to making these now that chanukah is here. so last night i went into the kitchen to bake latkes. my husband waited expectantly for his once a year latke treat………we were so disappointed. they came out like mashed potato patties. even with a crispy outside the inside texture was nothing like we are accustomed to. so tonite i am back to using first the shredder and then two bursts of the circular blade in my food processor to work over the raw potatoes and then continue in the old traditional frying method. this is the first blog recipe that failed. it is a shame as i had high hopes for a good result and it didn’t even come close to the real thing.
    happy chanukah

    So sorry these weren’t to your liking… Happy Chanukah, anyway- PJH

    Reply
  33. Serene

    I’m really skeptical about calling these latkes and not just potato patties, but I’ll give them a try.

    Serene, call them potato pancakes, OK? “A rose by any other name…” PJH

    Reply
  34. rmcbjc

    can you make them in the oven with out cooking them first? also dont have ricer so why cant i just use food processor like i usually do with my latkes and then bake them per your recipe?

    Cooked potato is required for this baked version of latkes. Raw potato will loose their water and turn dark. If you don’t have a ricer for the cooked potato, a few pulses in a food processor should do the trick. Frank @ KAF.

    Reply
  35. auntiepatch

    People, people, people……….don’t beat up PJ when she’s trying to save you 1) time, 2) trouble, & 3) fat. They are just potato pancakes/latkes for gosh sakes! Try it, and if you don’t like it, don’t make them this way again. Sheesh!

    Thanks, Auntie – Teflon skin definitely comes in handy here. It lets everything sliiiiiide right off! :) PJH

    Reply
  36. dbbehney

    I have one thing to say ……. I LOVE YOU GUYS! I love my e-mails, I love your store and all your products and I love your recipes. Thanks for being there.
    Wow. If that is not gratifying, I do not know what is! We love our customers, too! Thanks for all the feedback. Elisabeth

    Reply
  37. Donna

    It would be great if you deleted the directions for microwaving with the chemical infused plastic wrap. Nothing with plastic should ever be used in the microwave. Wax paper, paper towels or glass is safe.

    Reply

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