Who doesn’t love latkes? Although we always serve them for Chanukah, we also make them year-round, as party appetizers and a side dish. Candle Cafe’s recipe for crispy pancakes are made with a mix of russets, sweet potatoes, and fresh chives, and we top them with a dollop of creamy almond crème fraîche. To ensure that your latkes are crisp, be sure to squeeze out as much water as possible from the shredded potatoes before you add them to the other ingredients. Note that the almonds are soaked overnight.
Exclusively from Candle 79’s cookbook, Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Cafe, the book is a feast for the senses as it carries the home cook through a year’s worth of holiday recipes.
SWEET POTATO LATKES with ALMOND CRÈME FRAÎCHE
serves 8 to 10; makes about 24 pancakes
almond crème fraîche
- 2 cups sliced almonds
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled and rinsed
- 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and rinsed
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 white onion, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
- 1 cup dried bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup Earth Balance Natural Buttery Spread or extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
To make the crème fraîche, put the almonds in a large bowl and cover with at least 2 inches of water. Let soak overnight. Rinse and drain the almonds.
Transfer the almonds to a food processor. Add the lemon juice, canola oil, water, and salt. Blend until smooth, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour. The crème fraîche will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Using a box grater or a food processor, grate the potatoes and put them in a large bowl. Add the salt and pepper and mix together. With a clean kitchen towel, squeeze the excess liquid from the potatoes and return them to the bowl.
Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons of the chives and the bread crumbs to the potatoes and mix together. With your hands, form the mixture into patties that are about 3 inches wide and ½ inch thick and place on parchment paper.
Heat the buttery spread in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Cook the latkes until lightly browned and crisp, about 4 minutes per side. Add more buttery spread, if needed. Remove latkes from the pan with a spatula and let drain on paper towels. Note: If you prefer to bake the latkes, bake them in a 350°F oven on an oiled baking sheet for 20 minutes, 10 minutes per side.
Serve the latkes with crème fraîche and garnish with the remaining 1 tablespoon of chive.