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Breakfasts, Vegetarian

Mini ricotta latkes with sour cherry sauce

Mini ricotta latkes with sour cherry sauce
Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

"What makes a potato pancake a latke?" my younger daughter asked me last week, just before the eight-day Jewish festival of Hanukkah, which begins this year on Sunday evening (all Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before). A latke, ... Read more

Total time: 35 minutes | Serves 6 (12 to 14 latkes)

Sour cherry sauce

  • 1 cup drained canned or bottled sour cherries in syrup
  • 1 cup syrup from can or bottle of sour cherries
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon cherry liqueur

Step 1In a small saucepan, mix cherries and syrup and heat over medium-low heat. In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and water to form a slurry. Add the slurry to the saucepan and stir to combine. Continue to heat, stirring, until the mixture thickens slightly to a sauce-like consistency, 10 to 12 minutes.

Step 2Stir in the cherry liqueur, remove from heat, then cover and keep warm while preparing the latkes. (May be prepared in advance and reheated.)

Latkes and assembly

  • 1 pound whole or part-skim milk ricotta cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour (half whole wheat pastry flour if desired)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon walnut oil
  • 2 tablespoons sugar or turbinado sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Oil for frying
  • Sour cherry sauce

Step 1In a blender or food processor, combine the cheese, eggs, flour, optional baking powder, oil, sugar and vanilla. Process until smooth.

Step 2Heat a small amount of oil in a frying pan and drop two tablespoons of the mixture each time to form a mini latke. Cook briefly on one side till lightly browned on the bottom, then flip and cook the other side for less than a minute. Transfer the latkes to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat until all of the latkes are cooked, adding additional oil as necessary for frying.

Step 3Serve the latkes warm with the sauce.

Note: Adapted from "The Essential Book of Jewish Festival Cooking" by Phyllis Glazer with Miriyam Glazer. The fastest latke ever, these are light and delicious for dessert, as a snack or as part of a "latke party." These latkes come out flat; add the baking powder if you want a slightly fluffier pancake. Sweet cherries in syrup may also be used, but sour cherries add a slight tartness that complements the other flavors.

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