Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving/Chanukkah Recipes: Candied Sweet Potato Latkes (Pancakes) and Pumpkin Spice Sufganiyot

Winter Thanksgiving is coming. And this year, for the first time in 125 years, it overlaps with the start of Chanukkah (or however you prefer to spell it), so, much like all the American Jews on Pinterest, I thought it would be fun to combine some traditional Thanksgiving and Chanukkah foods for my family dinner.

Sweet & Sara's candied sweet potatoes have become a family Thanksgiving tradition, but this year, I decided to incorporate some Chanukka flavor. Enter the Candied Sweet Potato Latkes (pancakes).

For reasons Wikipedia would be happy to explain, Chanukkah is all about fried goodness. Bonus points for using olive oil. Probably the most well-known Chanukkah dish is potato latkes (pancakes) served with apple sauce*. This year, I've traded regular white potatoes for sweet potatoes and apple sauce for a thick, sticky marshmallow glaze, packing traditional Thanksgiving flavors into a Chanukkah-friendly shape.

Still can't take appetizing food photos, sorry.

Candied Sweet Potato Latkes (Pancakes)
Makes about 18 latkes

1. If you have a box grater and the patience to use it, be my guest. I run the sweet potato and onion through my food processor using the shredding blade, then replace it with the regular blade for a few quick pulses, making sure to mix it up so I don't end up with sweet potato puree on the bottom and shreds on top. I do microplane the ginger, though.
2. Total shredded yield is a bit over four cups.

1 large sweet potato, peeled and grated
1/2 large sweet onion, peeled and grated
1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for frying (or your preferred oil)
1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste

1. Combine the sweet potato, onion and ginger in a large bowl.
2. Mix in the flour, all, salt and pepper. If your batter doesn't hold together, add water by the half-teaspoon until it does.
3. Preheat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat. While it's heating, prepare a draining surface with paper bags, paper towels or kitchen towels.
4. Pour a thin layer of oil into the pan, about 1/8". Heat until bubbles form immediately when batter is dropped into oil.
5. Form the batter into palm-sized pancakes, and lay them carefully in the hot oil. Cook for 2-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. You may have to do this in batches. If necessary, add more oil between batches and wait for it to heat before adding more batter.
6. When pancakes are done, transfer to draining surface. Keep warm by covering or putting in a low oven until ready to serve.

Marshmallow Glaze
1. This isn't really a glaze but I have no idea what else to call it. It's too thick to be a sauce.
2. If you don't have a double boiler (like me), just use two small saucepans that fit inside one another, or a metal bowl that rests easily on a saucepan. Boil the water in the larger pan and prep your marshmallows in the smaller pan or bowl resting above so the heat from the water melts them evenly.

1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon light agave nectar
2 tablespoons coconut oil
3 tablespoons almond (or other plant) milk
1-6 oz package Sweet & Sara vegan marshmallows, chopped
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Start your double boiler boiling.
2. Combine sugar, agave, coconut oil and milk in a saucepan over low heat until sugar is dissolved.
3. Bring sugar mixture to a boil, then let simmer for five minutes.
4. When your double boiler is boiling, add the water and marshmallows to the top vessel and stir until melted.
5. When marshmallows are melted, stir into hot syrup mixture until no streaks remain.
6. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla.

Plate and serve immediately, while the latkes and glaze are as hot as possible. To serve, either spread some glaze on each latke (think black and white cookies) or generously drizzle it over the whole plate (like nachos). Also, I'm not above sandwiching the glaze between two latkes and eating them that way. Don't serve the glaze in a bowl on the side, though; by the time your guests have decided where to sit, it will be extremely difficult to serve.

If your glaze solidifies (or to reheat), bring a few tablespoons of almond milk to a boil, remove from heat, then stir in the marshmallow ball until it breaks up and melts in and let it cool to thicken. It will change color, but still be delicious.

For dessert, instead of pumpkin pie, I'll be serving up pumpkin spice sufganiyot this year. Sufganiyot are fried jelly doughnuts and frankly, the ones sold around here for the holidays are pretty gross (also not vegan). A better option: Hell Yeah It's Vegan's, sufganiyot recipe (don't over-knead) filled with Fat Free Vegan's pumpkin apple butter (with a bit of extra sugar). Definitely more work than a pumpkin pie, but so totally worth it.

In other delicious news, Dun-Well Doughnuts will be hosting Sea Shepherd NYC's next volunteer training, Wednesday, December 11 at 7:30pm. Dun-Well closes at 7, so if you want to pick up doughnuts, get there early (but please step out to let them clean in between). Please RSVP to nyc at seashepherd dot org to learn how you can help protect our oceans.

*Yes, apple sauce. If anyone tries to serve them to you with sour cream, tell them they're wrong. Bovine or bean, latkes just don't belong with sour cream.

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