Friday, April 8, 2011

Results of the Potato Pancake mini-marathon

When I began the potato pancake testing on Monday, I didn't know how many days it would go on. What I did know was that both Tom and I like the dish well enough that we could happily eat potato pancakes for many suppers in a row. I have two more recipe cards which I was going to use today and tomorrow - one a Martha Stewart recipe and another from an unknown source. As I looked at them both this morning I saw they were almost identical. They each called for a couple potatoes and an onion; the only difference being one asked for one egg, and the other two. Neither of them had any flour. And from four days of potato pancakes, we learned that we prefer flour in our pancakes. It can be 2 Tablespoons as in Potato Pancakes - One or double that as in Potato Pancakes - Three. The flour does two things: it binds the potatoes together, and it makes the recipe more a potato dish than an egg dish. If someone really loves eggs, then the latter wouldn't matter. I tend to not love eggs unless they are cooked in something so I really prefer a potato pancake where the eggs aren't so obvious. So, I decided to throw away those last two recipes, and do my final posting on this subject today.

The other thing we learned is that we definitely prefer onions or chives (in season) in our potato pancakes. If I want a potato cake without onions, I will make Boxty.

As I noted yesterday, I threw away the recipe card for Potato Pancakes - Four. And I am also going to throw away Potato Pancakes - Two, Gladys Taber's recipe because hers called for less flour and no onion. It also didn't make any difference to spend that extra time soaking the potatoes. We will keep numbers One and Three.

Thanks for bearing with me in my Monday through Thursday marathon. It was a great way to learn what we like and what we don't when it comes to Potato Pancakes. Today I'm going to make a nice tomato sauce (recipe here - one that never varies since we both love it) and we'll have spaghetti tonight!


  1. Thanks for all this potato pancake 'madness' Nan. :) I love potato pancakes but I've only ever eaten them in restaurants. I'm gearing myself up to following one of your recipes and throwing caution to the winds. I'm not a great cook anymore (I used to be, once upon a time), but I figure what's the worse that could happen? HA!

  2. Gosh, Yvette, I've never eaten or even seen them on a restaurant menu! You cannot go wrong with either of the two. Easy. Really. And delish!

  3. Your experiment has been a lot of fun to follow, but now I'm craving potato pancakes! I've decided to try recipe #3 tomorrow. Thanks for sharing your results.

  4. It really is a good idea to try out the (more or less) same dish with different recipes and then decide on which one to keep.
    Maybe I can talk my mum into trying ALL her cake recipes so that I get to taste different cakes every week ;-)

  5. After reading about potato pancakes for several days, I had to give them a try. I used recipe #3. I didn't have any russets on hand, so I used what I had: 3 all-purpose white potatoes and a red one. Substituting types of potatoes was slightly risky, I know, but I've learned that I have to make do with what's in the pantry or nothing ever gets cooked. The pancakes turned out quite yummy. If I made them again, I would only change a couple of things. The onion I used was rather small, and I think more would have been better. The potatoes were also quite wet, something I noticed from the get-go but didn't bother to remedy. I think draining or wringing them out would have helped, but the pancakes still turned out well, so not a big deal. Thanks for the recipe!

  6. I watched your Potato Pancake marathon with interest, Nan. I have never made potato pancakes and truly, the fact that you grate the potatoes makes it seem like hash browns to me. However, my experience with them was in my childhood and the ones my mother would make. I think I've told you before that my Mom was really not a good cook at all. She couldn't help it, she just wasn't. There were a few things that she made that I liked and what she called potato pancakes was one of them. She used leftover mashed potatoes and put in flour and egg and I'm not sure what else. They were much more like regular pancakes than the ones I think you've shown. My Dad liked them a lot. So, that's my story.

    Love the picture of the goat and sheep. Is it nearly time for the shearing?

  7. JoAnn, hope you like them!

    Librarian, it's sure worth a try! I'd love to hear her recipes.

    Karen, the only reason I used russets is that I'd just gotten a 50 pound box of them. I also wanted to make each batch with the same kind of potatoes to make an honest test. They worked fine, but I'd use any other if they were on hand. The Joy of Cooking suggests wringing them out in a towel, as did Kristi in a comment. Thanks so much for your detailed note. I loved reading it.

    Kay, I didn't remember that your mom wasn't a great cook. The boxty recipe is a bit like what you remember, only there are mashed and grated potatoes in it. In my recipe box, I have a couple 'potato cakes' recipes - one from Gladys Taber and the other from Mrs. Appleyard's Winter Kitchen. Both use mashed potatoes. I'll do a little two day experiment with them on the blog and you can see if either one sounds like your mother's, or better still you could try them both and see which you like! One has an egg and the other doesn't. In that same recipe box, I still have a multi-page article on potatoes from a March 2000 Good Housekeeping which YOU sent me. :<) Thanks for the long comment.

  8. You are such a trooper, Nan! Thanks for doing this potato pancake marathon for us. What fun! Your husband is a good sport too!

  9. Kay, it wasn't hard for either of us, believe me! We are huge potato fans. :<)

  10. This was a lot of fun, Nan! One is my favorite, made with butter, in honor of my grandmother.......But perhaps I will try four sometime, too. My mother and my mother in law had recipes for potato cakes from leftover mashed potatoes. I've never made these to my satisfaction, alas. My Austro-Hungarian mil called these "Puffer".

  11. I need to look up my tried-and-true latke recipe -- but I guarantee that it has grated onions in it and some flour. What I can't remember is the egg(s).

    Nothing I love more -- warm with sour cream. Heaven.

    I love your experimenting. Sounds like a lot of fun.

  12. Great fun to follow your potato pancake experiment. I will agree with you on the onion. I will probably add a little garlic as well, but that's just our tastes. I'm going to try recipe #3 first.

  13. After all those potatoes, I bet spaghetti was a nice change :)

  14. I applaud you for testing out so many recipes to find out which one works best for you. I don't think I'd have the patience to do so ;)
    Your potato pancake photos are making me hungry o__O

  15. This is great. Now I want to make these pancakes. Must buy potatoes first. Will look forward to your results.

  16. Kristi, I haven't made them from just mashed, but the boxty had both grated and mashed, and I do have a couple recipes to try of mashed potato cakes.

    Thanks, Beth, it was fun. I'll be waiting for your 'tried and true!'

    In my opinion, you can never go wrong with garlic, Margot!

    Yes, Book Girl, but now I'm ready for some more potatoes. :<) The chives have just come up and I love potatoes and chives.

    Chinoiseries, it didn't take a bit of patience because we love potatoes. :<)

    Heather, if you lived closer I'd run over with some of mine. I've got about 50 pounds sitting around the kitchen. :<)


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