Few goyim would turn up their noses at latkes, which are, after all, what hash can only browns dream of becoming. Some have sampled the potato latke's slick city cousin, the ricotta pancake, which, no matter how much it's gussied up, is still a fancy way of saying "fried cheese." But few among us, Jewish or not, have tried the apple latke. Fewer still have tried my mom's apple latkes, which just might be the best apple latkes on earth. (I may be biased.)
What makes this forgotten relative of the latke family so spectacular is a near absence of flour in the batter. These aren't apple pancakes with a few chunks or shreds of fruit lodged in the dough. These are flat, delicate and floppy, made almost entirely of apples and held together with eggs and love.
A classic in my house, apple latkes would be among my top five choices for my last meal on earth. Recipe after the jump.
Mom's Apple Latkes
From: Tatyana Melnick.
3 medium Granny Smith apples (Pippins or other sweet- tart varieties are also suitable)
2 large eggs, separated
1-2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
dash of cinnamon
vegetable oil for frying
1. Peel the apples and grate them on the longish oval holes of the grater or processor attachment. Transfer the grated apples to a colander and let them sit for a few minutes. Let the juice drip away, but do not squeeze it out completely.Transfer grated apples to a large mixing bowl.
2. Add egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon to the apples and mix well. Add flour and incorporate it until there are no lumps.
3. Beat egg whites until they are doubled in volume but have not formed peaks. Add the egg whites to the apple batter and mix in quickly.
4. Put a small amount (these are not deep-fried fritters!) of neutral-tasting oil in a frying pan. When the pan is hot, drop in a tablespoon (or whatever size you prefer) of the apple batter. Flatten it with a spatula.
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5. Fry just one to see if it holds together. Sometimes, apples have more moisture and require an extra spoon or two of flour. ("I don't like to put in too much flour up front because this can make the latkes too pancakey," says mom.)
Adjust flour and sugar, if needed, and fry the rest.
6. Serve hot with sour cream, honey, powdered sugar or sugar mixed with cinnamon
Another warning from mom: "They can be reheated, but it is not the same thing."