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Seriously Simple: Make crispy potato-apple pancakes using this no-fail method

By Diane Rossen Worthington, Tribune Content Agency on

Every year at about this time my email is full of questions about how to prepare latkes. Latkes, crispy potato pancakes, are the star dish for a Hanukkah party. This version combines the Idaho russet with diced apple. I knew it had to be good since applesauce and any potato pancake is a dangerously delicious combination. The starch and moisture in the russet potato helps the pancakes keep their shape and fry crisply, while the apple adds a faint sweet flavor. Try it with the following maple-flavored applesauce recipe. And remember, potato pancakes are a wonderful dish year-round.

I am a fan of this no-fail method that uses the food processor instead of grating the potatoes, onion and apple by hand. Just puree the eggs and onions in the food processor until fluffy and then pulse in the potato and apple chunks until they resemble finely grated potatoes. I usually test one in hot oil before I start cooking a batch to make sure that they are seasoned just right.

These potato pancakes can be enjoyed in other menus throughout the holiday season. I like to serve these for breakfast or brunch alongside an egg frittata or scrambled eggs. Consider these as part of a vegetarian entree served with pureed butternut squash and steamed green beans. They also make a great side dish with any grilled or roasted main course.

These fried potato rounds are always a sell-out at my house. Anyone claiming they are dieting falls off the wagon since they can't resist the crispy outer crust with a dollop of sour cream and fresh applesauce. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled if you are having a crowd. I like to use a small ice cream scooper to drop the potato mixture into the hot oil. You can also use a ladle or large tablespoon.

Here are a few more tips to help you through the process:

--Wear old clothes when frying, since you will smell like fried oil when you are finished.

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--Use vegetable oil.

--Use nonstick skillets for ease in turning the pancakes.

--Cook the pancakes on medium-high heat.

--Use a small ice cream scooper to drop the pancakes into the hot oil. You can also use a ladle or large tablespoon.

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