In my family, we made potato pancakes from leftover mashed potatoes and fried them in lard or butter to make them crisp. I never heard of pancakes made of raw grated potato and flavored with grated onion until I came East and encountered the world of German-Jewish cuisine and of potato latkes for Hanukah. In exploring German cooking, I have learned how often raw potatoes were combined with raw apples, since both kept well through the winter. But only from Lizzie Kander did I learn the possibilities of combining raw potato with raw unpeeled pears.
Lizzie includes a standard potato pancake in her section “Eggs, Omelets and Pancakes,” but in her section “Potatoes” she includes potatoes sweetened with sugar and scented with cinnamon in a recipe for Potatoes and Pears. She cooks the potatoes and pears with onions and gravy as a kind of vegetable-fruit garnish for meats. But the addition of raw grated pears to raw potatoes in the traditional fried pancake turns a potato latke into a dessert pancake, like the German Pancake with Apples
Without peeling the pear, cut it into quarters, core, and chop it fine. Mix it with the potatoes and onion. Beat the eggs with the flour, sugar, baking powder, and seasonings, and mix with the potatoes and pears.
Heat butter or fat to make a thin layer in the bottom of a heavy cast-iron skillet. Drop the potato mixture by large spoonfuls into the fat and fry as you would pancakes, turning them to brown on each side.
© 1986 Betty Fussell. All rights reserved.