Although I don't consider myself Jewish, I did grow up in a household that observed the major Jewish holidays like Passover, Yom Kippur, and of>"/>
Although I don't consider myself Jewish, I did grow up in a household that observed the major Jewish holidays like Passover, Yom Kippur, and of course, Hanukkah. One of my favorite memories of celebrating Hanukkah is the tradition of eating latkes with sour cream and apple sauce. For the gentiles out there, latkes are potato pancakes, made from shredded potato and onion. In fact, latkes are pretty simple to make, which is why I wanted to take on the challenge of making them better. To me, a latke should have an awesomely crunchy outside and a creamy inside. So, I started experimenting with ways to get the ultimate potato crunch.
My instinct was that the key to crunchier latkes was adding starch to the potato. I cooked three variations: a control (no added starch, top), a latke sprinkled with potato starch (right), and a latke coated with butter-flavored instant mashed potato flakes (bottom). To keep the experiment rigorous, I packed the same quantity of potato mixture into a ring mold and fried the latkes for the same time at the same temperature. The instant potato flake latke was the clear winner - the dried starch added extra surface area for frying and made the potato wonderfully crunchy. Unfortunately, much of the potato flake broke off during frying, which clouded the oil. With some good advice from Maxime Bilet, I altered my method to avoid this problem. I ended up with fantastically crispy latkes, which I wouldn't mind eating for eight consecutive nights this year.
Makes: 12 crispy latkes
Total kitchen time: 1 hour