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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Potato Pancakes for Lent

by Judy Ann Davis 
Pancakes have existed since prehistoric times. They are round, flat cakes prepared from a thick batter made of flour, milk, and eggs as well as other ingredients like corn and potatoes. Cooked in oil in a  frying pan or on a griddle, they are made in almost all countries of our world—from the delicate French dessert crepes to the hearty ones served for breakfast with eggs and sausage. The first pancakes made in the United States were called griddle cakes, flapjacks, and Johnny cakes. There is a national holiday in the United States for the recognition of pancakes in November.

In Poland, potato pancakes known as Latke and Nalesniki Ziemniaczane, are very popular. Traditionally, they are eaten on Fridays as a meat substitute for Catholics and often consumed during Lent.

4 large potatoes (russet, Idaho, and golden potatoes work well)
1 small onion
1 egg
tsp. salt
black pepper to taste
2-4 TBSPs flour
(2 cups vegetable oil for frying)
3 tsp. butter

Turn oven range onto low, about 200 degrees F or 95 degrees C. [This is needed
to keep the pancakes hot while frying the entire mixture.]

Finely grate potatoes with onion into a large bowl and drain, squeezing out the liquid.
Beat eggs in a bowl and add to potato mixture along with salt and pepper.
Add enough flour to make mixture thick. (2-4 TBSPs)
Heat ¼ inch oil in bottom of skillet over medium heat and add a teaspoon of butter
Drop two or three  mounds into hot oil.  Flatten to make 1/2 inch thick pancakes.
Fry until golden brown, turning once.
Drain on paper towel-lined plate and keep warm in low oven until ready to serve.
Continue until all the potato mixture is used, adding more butter with oil
as needed to fry entire amount.

VARIATIONS: Serve with eggs and sausage. Serve alone as a meal. Top with sour cream, or
applesauce or cranberry sauce. These are also served with melted cheese or meat and fish
mixtures on top.

In my novel, “Willie, My Love,” to be released April 15th, 
the heroine is eating a pancake on her birthday:

             Jonathan found her at the table hacking a flapjack into a million pieces. It didn't take any more brains than an earthworm to see she was in the vilest of moods for someone about to celebrate her twenty-fourth birthday. Following his explicit orders, no one from the entire household staff had made mention of it, and she was moping.
Whistling merrily, Jonathan dropped into a seat facing her.
Release Date: April 15
“People who are so joyful in the morning should have their hearts ripped out,” she muttered and poured more than a generous stream of maple syrup onto the shredded pancake.
A smile ruffled his handsome face. “You're just in a poor mood because you didn't find your birthday presents we stashed in the stables. Everyone knows you've tipped this house upside down in search of them. Think all that sugar might help your disposition?”
“I should have known,” she sputtered, coming to her feet, “only buzzard bait like you would stoop to such a childish trick.” An unexpected stir of excitement rose inside her. “So what are we waiting for?”
He followed her out into the summer sunshine. The first rays of dawn had already burned off the dew from underfoot. The doors to the stables were flung open, and he had to quicken his pace to keep up with her.
“I guess in all fairness, I should show you where we hid them.” Inside the barn, he led her past Silver Cloud's stall to one at the far end of the stables. Her eyes sparkled luminously when she saw a pure white horse, prancing in the stall, still uneasy with its new surroundings. His coat glistened like new snow in the slanted sunlight filtering through the stable windows.
She was so shocked, she could only stare.
“Happy birthday.” He leaned a shoulder against the stall. “A new saddle from the staff is arriving from Maryland next week. I ordered it special to fit the mount.”
            “Oh, Jonathan, he’s beautiful. Thank you.” She blinked back a tear. 
            No one had ever given her such a splendid gift since the day she received her first horse.

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  1. I love potatoes but have not tried to make potato pancakes. You've inspired me and I'm going to try your recipe. Thanks for the post.

    1. Thanks for the post. Best of luck with the potato pancake recipe. I love them with sour cream on top. :-)

  2. My mother always made potato pancakes with left over mashed potatoes. Your recipe sounds heartier. I loved my mom's potato pancakes with a little catsup.


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