Monday, September 30, 2013

Cooking Club #5: German - Kartoffelpuffer (Potato Pancakes) with Homemade Applesauce

Our cooking club continues its culinary tour around the world; after tastes of India, France, England, and Italy, our next stop was Germany.

I typically make latkes for Hanukkah every year, so I was happy to make the German version, called kartoffelpuffer. Since it is prime apple-picking season around here, I also made some fresh homemade applesauce to serve with them.

The potato pancake recipe makes about 2 dozen large pancakes and the applesauce makes about 4 cups. Both recipes can easily be cut in half.

For the potato pancakes:

  • 12 medium russet potatoes
  • 2 large yellow onions
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 C. flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • vegetable oil, for frying
Scrub and peel the potatoes. Place a large colander in the sink and line with a clean dish towel.

Grate the potatoes and onion directly into the dish towel. Try to work quickly as the potatoes will begin to oxidize and turn brown. If you have a food processor, you can save yourself a lot of time.

Twist the dish towel into a ball and squeeze as much moisture as possible out of it.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the potatoes, flour, and salt and stir to combine.

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in one or more large cast-iron or other heavy duty frying pans. You want a good coating of oil on the bottom, maybe about 1/4" or so.

To see if the oil is hot enough, I take a small amount of batter and put it in the pan. If it sizzles, then you are ready to cook. Your pancakes will be greasy if the oil isn't hot enough.

Scoop the batter into the pan (use a 1/3 cup for large pancakes or 1/4 cup for smaller ones). Use the back of the measuring cup to flatten the pancakes.

Fry for 2 minutes on each side. 

Then drain on a paper towel and serve immediately, or place in a warm over (200-250 degrees) until ready to serve. Serve with applesauce and/or sour cream.

For the applesauce:
  • 8-12 sweet apples - I used Gala, but you can use a mix of your favorites, cored and quartered - leave the skin on
  • 1.5 to 2 C. water
Notice there is no sweetener needed for this applesauce, as long as you use sweet apples.

Put the apples and water in large stockpot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, until the apples are soft. Most of the water should have evaporated during the cooking. 

Pour the apples and remaining water into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. If you have a high-powered blender like a Vitamix, don't use the highest setting unless you want a baby-food like consistency. You can also use a food-mill, if you don't have a blender or food processor.

You can taste and add vanilla, cinnamon, and/or nutmeg, but I prefer mine plain.

Here are some other photos from our German feast...

Appetizers, including herring salad (prepared by Maliha), carrot salad and cucumber salad (prepared by Sherry), and Abendbrot ("evening bread"), homemade German farmer's bread topped with various cold cuts, cheeses, and pickled vegetables (prepared by Kristen).

Sauerbraten with Kartoffelkloesse (potato dumplings) and Rotkohl (red cabbage), prepared by our hostess Susanne.

Cauliflower in cream sauce and Spaetzle (prepared by Nehal).

Sauerkraut (prepared by Terri)

Rouladen (prepared by Jennifer)

And wienerschnitzel (prepared by Laura)

That's a lot of food!

And finally, dessert!!

There was bienenstich (bee sting cake), prepared by Emmy.

Hazelnut cake, prepared by Terri.

German apple cake, prepared by Prassu.

And Rote Gruetze (red berry pudding), served with vanilla sauce (prepared by Laura).

I'm still full the next day!

1 comment:

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