Latkes with three sweet toppingsWhether you celebrate Hanukkah, cook for someone who is, or are interested in experiencing culturally diverse cuisines, potato latkes are an excellent choice. Like much of Jewish cuisine, Latkes (or potato pancakes) are also very popular in traditional Scandinavian cuisine. They are served on their own or as a side dish, with crème fraîche and sweet or savory toppings.

Today I’m cooking with my friend Juli in mind and she prefers her Latkes with sweet toppings. To make it extra special I’m making three sweet topping options and keeping my fingers crossed she will like at least one. Thanks Juli for your valuable contribution on Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine.

gluten free potato latkes

1½-2 lbs potatoes
2 shallots (or ½ small onion)
4 tablespoons potato starch
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 egg + 1 yolk
oil for frying


Shred potatoes and onions using the course side of a grater.

Place grated potato and onion in a cheese cloth (or clean kitchen towel) and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Let sit for a couple of minutes and repeat. Do this a few times, the dryer it gets, the better the result.

Transfer to a bowl and mix in potato starch, salt and pepper.

Mix in lightly beaten egg and egg yolk.

Drop about 2 tablespoons potato mixture per latke into a generous amount of hot oil and flatten to about 2 ½-3 inches. Fry until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.

Serve immediately with sour creme or crème fraîche (find recipe for homemade crème fraîche here) topped with sweet or savory toppings such as sweet jam or savory caviar.

Makes about 15 latkes.

three sweet toppings

Three sweet toppings 1

cranberry sauce with maple & hazelnuts

4 cups (1 lbs) fresh cranberries
2 cups (½ lbs) dried cranberries
½ cup fresh squeezed tangerine juice
1 cup maple syrup
1 cinnamon stick
½ cup roughly chopped hazelnuts


Boil all ingredients except hazelnuts over medium heat for about 20 minutes until the sauce thickens and the berries start to fall apart.

Take off the heat and stir in chopped hazelnuts.

Let cool to room temperature before storing in refrigerator.

Makes 4 cups.

apple butter with cider, honey & cardamom

2 lbs apples
juice from ½ lemon
1 cup cider (or water, add 1 TBL honey)
4 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon cardamom
2 tablespoons butter


Peel apples and cut into thin wedges.

Boil apple, lemon juice, honey and cardamom over medium heat for 20 minutes until the apples soften and start to fall apart.

Take of the heat and stir in cubed butter. Leave as is, break up apple pieces with a fork, or process in a food processor to a smooth applesauce.

Let cool to room temperature before storing in refrigerator.

Makes 2 ½ cups.

salted caramel pear jam

This caramel jam can be done with pieces of pear still intact or as a smooth caramel pear sauce. Both are absolutely delicious and fit for any dessert or baked goods.


½ cup butter (1 stick)
½ cup coconut palm sugar
3 tablepoons cream (or milk)
½ teaspoon salt
2 ½ lbs pears


Peel pears, cut into ¼ inch cubes and set aside.

Bring remaining ingredients to a boil while stirring and let boil over medium heat for 5 minutes. At this point it should be a thick and sticky caramel.

Add cubed pears and bring back to a boil while stirring. As the pears get warmer the sauce will thin out from pear juice before it gets thicker again. Boil for another 45 minutes over medium to high heat until the pears soften and the sauce thickens.

Leave as is or process in a food processor until it turns into a smooth pear caramel sauce.

Let cool to room temperature before storing in refrigerator.

Makes 2 ½ cups.

first night of hanukkah

Menorah First Night of Hanukkah

Vintage Pewter Plate from Cabinetocurios, Etsy. Jars by Weck from Heath. Wooden Board from Golden Biscotti, Etsy.

Photography by Philip Blankenship.