Last year, Jon and I decided that we would head over to Williamsburg to experience the traditions of Hanukkah in their natural setting. Cultural tourists to the core, we had a list of restaurants in hand, each one specializing in a different delight, from chicken soup to donuts. “We’ll do a walking tour of deliciousness!” I said as we set off gamely into the evening.
On a Saturday night. Shabbat no less. In Hanukkah. In Orthodox Williamsburg.
It really was a terrible plan. The first deli on our list was locked and barred. The second was pulling down the shutters and we rounded the corner. The third sold us donuts, but wouldn’t let us sit down since they too were closing for the night. We pulled our scarves more tightly around us, called it quits, and went for a pizza instead.
These are fake latkes, no doubt about it. Rosti really. Only they’re fake rosti too. So here’s the thing; you BAKE them in a muffin tray, rather than fry them in boiling oil. These has the obvious advantage – no boiling oil – and the secondary benefit – totally adorable, uniformly sized grated-potato awesomeness, all ready at the same time, good to go, very little mess and fuss.
(makes enough for about 12 muffin tin sized latke – depending on the size of the potato – you might get a few more)2 baking potatoes 1 large white onion Salt and pepper Vegetable oil (about 1 tbsp) Butter (about 1 tbsp) 1 cup of sour cream 1 small tub of black caviar (I use the cheap stuff because it’s really no more than a salty accent) Muffin tin – I find the rosti crunch up better in my metal tin
- Pre-heat the oven to 425
- Grate the potatoes into a bowl
- Peel the onion, cut in half and grate into the bowl
- Season generously with salt and pepper
- Tip into a tea towel and wring out until as dry as possible
- Wipe a thin layer of oil around the muffin tins to stop the latke from sticking
- Press a tbsp of potato mixture firmly into the bottom of each hole (it should come about 1cm up the side of the tin)
- Put a tiny knob of butter on top (about ¼ tsp) – (the butter helps the latke brown, but add to much and they’ll be greasy)
- Bake for about 30 – 40 minutes, depending on the thickness of the potato and the size of the tin – I make mini fairy cake tin ones that take 20 mins, whereas my silicone muffin tray takes 40 and sometimes longer
- Turn out so that the bottom is now the top
- Top with a blob of sour cream and a little pile of caviar