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Potato pancakes with sweet potatoes and scallions

Why limit yourself to latkes during Hanukkah? Potato pancakes are for anyone, anytime! After all, they do look like little FSMs, albeit somewhat flattened. I’m sure His Noodliness would still approve.

Moreover, savory pancakes can be made from many different root vegetables, in my case baking potatoes and sweet potatoes, with a kick of scallions and onions. The floury Russets, and the yellow, dry style of sweet potatoes work well.

sweet potato pancakesSavory pancakes from New Year’s Eve 2008, served on New Year’s Day 2009. Topped with horseradish-garlic mustard cream.

Makes about 3 dozen, give or take.

For a possible creamy topping, mix together crème fraîche, horseradish and a nice, garlicky mustard. Oh yeah.


  • 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 pounds of baking potatoes and sweet potatoes, peeled. I used equal amounts of both tubers.
  • 1 medium onion, diced finely
  • 4 ounces (about 1 bunch) scallions, both green and pale parts sliced finely
  • 3/4 cup pastry or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus 1/4 teaspoon for sprinkling
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried (or 1 teaspoon fresh) thyme
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • your favorite frying lipids: goose fat, duck fat, safflower oil, whichever


  1. Mix the flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, pepper and thyme and set aside. Preheat oven to 225ºF.
  2. Grate the baking and sweet potatoes. Then put them in a large bowl, along with the onions and scallions. Toss with a 1/4 teaspoon of salt, to help leech out more liquid.
  3. Using a fine cheesecloth, squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the vegetables. The butter muslin from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company is great for this task. It’s okay to do so in batches (in which case another large bow will help); you’ll probably need to squeeze the stuff twice.
  4. Toss in the flour mixture, then stir in the eggs.
  5. Heat up a frying pan (preferably not non-stick, since you want crispiness to develop) filled with barely an 1/8-inch of fat or oil. If you have two such pans, this will make the frying process go faster. Make sure it’s hot enough: toss in a tiny pinch of pancake batter, and if it sizzles on contact, it’s ready.
  6. Form each pancake from about 2 tablespoons of batter, kinda roundish. Once in the pan, I try to flatten them as much as possible (more crispy!) with the back of a large spoon.
  7. Fry until golden-brown, about 2 minutes, then flip and finish the other side in about 1 to 2 minutes.
  8. When the pancakes are done, transfer them to drain briefly on a paper-lined tray — for only a minute or so, otherwise the trapped steam will make them soggy — then transfer them onto a rack over a pan in the oven to stay warm and crisp.
  9. Serve with sour cream, yogurt, crème fraîche, smoked fish or poultry, caviar, and/or ketchup. Freezes and refrigerates well. Reheat in a 400ºF oven until hot and recrisped.

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