Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Latke Love

This year, Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, will fall on Thanksgiving! In celebration of the rare combination of two very important holidays in the Darling home, we decided to put a spin on the traditional fried potato latke and create sweet mini pumpkin latkes for a special dessert. This was not an easy feat.  Grated Pumpkin is more fragile than potato and posed a challenge when it came time to fry. It disintegrated easily, turning into a mealy texture. The first couple of attempts ended with broken up latkes and a few choice words for what seemed to be an inevitable culinary disaster. The third time was a charm. We made the latke size smaller and with patience and delicate maneuvering we produced bite sized latkes to please! These are a decadent treat and truly worth the effort it takes to make them. I hope you enjoy our recipe and your family gathered around your table!

With love,
Mrs. Darling

P.S. For you traditionalists, I have also included our recipe for good, old-faithful, potato latkes below.

Yeild: 20 Latkes
Approximate Time: 40 minutes, plus frying time

3 cups grated pumpkin
2 medium egg yolks
2 tablespoons almond flour
1 tablespoon tapioca starch
2 tablespoons chopped almonds
vegetable oil for frying

*Mix all ingredients in a large bowl, with the exception of the vegetable oil
*In a large pan (preferably non-stick), heat enough vegetable oil to cover the pan (about 4 tablespoons)
*Scoop 1 tablespoon of the mixture and drop in the pan, flattening it slightly with the back of a spatula
*Fry until golden on both sides
*Transfer cooked latkes to a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet lined with paper towel to absorb the excess oil.

1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoon confectioner sugar

*In a well chilled bowl, whip heavy cream with confectioner sugar until medium stiff
*Set aside in the refrigerator while you prepare the following ingredients:

1/2 cup cream cheese or mascarpone cheese
1/4 cup pumpkin butter
1/4 cup confectioner sugar
1/4 teaspoon  ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon  ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon  ground cardamon 
a pinch of nutmeg

*Soften the cream cheese at room temperature
*In a bowl, combine the cream cheese, confectioner sugar and pumpkin butter
*Mix well until smooth and fully incorporated
*Add the cinnamon, ginger, cardamon and nutmeg
*Fold in the reserved whipped heavy cream 

*Top one latke with a dollop of filling. (Top with another latke if desired)
*If there are two layers, dot another dollop of filling on top of the second layer 
*Top filling with a piece of crystallized pumpkin or chopped nuts to finish it off

NOTE: This is a rich, decedent dessert. If a more delicate taste is what you are looking for, just use one small latke topped with a dollop of filling and enjoy as one single bite.

Yield: 22 Latkes
Approximate Time: 45 minutes, plus frying time

3 large Russet Potatoes, peeled and grated
3 large yellow onions, peeled and grated (use may use more if desired)
1 egg
2 egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
Vegetable Oil for frying
2 teaspoons of Salt and Pepper

*Pre heat oven to 200 degrees
*Combine grated potatoes and onions in a colander. Rinse well to remove the milky residue.
*Drain well and lay mixture on a paper towel. Dry well.
*In a large mixing bowl, incorporate the potato and onion mixture with the eggs, cornstarch, salt and pepper.
*Heat enough vegetable oil to cover a large pan (about 4 tablespoons). 
*Ladle about 1/3 - 1/2 cup of mixture in hot oil and fry until golden brown, flipping the latkes as many times as needed in order to achieve the same color on both sides. 
*Transfer cooked latkes to a cooling rack placed over a baking sheet lined with paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
*Keep warm in the oven until you are ready to serve

These recipes were created in collaboration with Lory Fleischer, Cook/Pastry Chef, graduate of the FRENCH CULINARY INSTITUTE (Classic Pastry Arts).

Apple compote over tradition apple sauce

Salmon row over a mixture of greek yogurt and lovage*

*NOTE: Lovage is an herb from the parsley family that, when dried has a briny aroma with a warm and distinct flavor.

Some of my all time favorite spices, including Lovage, have come from Ambrosia -- a wonderful little  boutique store on Nantucket, specializing in organic herbs and artisan chocolate. Stay tuned for an upcoming post featuring the store itself, in addition to my favored spices that I discovered while exploring their beautifully stocked shelves.

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