From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...It's been at least thirty years since I made these pancakes. My children loved potato pancakes, and while they were still at home we sampled versions made in various countries around the world. I was taken aback when I found a recipe for them in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. As you might suspect, her version was a bit more complicated than most, but I'll try almost anything once, so they ended up on my table. As it turned out, my family really liked them, and, for a period of time, hers were our pancake of choice. As often happens with foods that we enjoy, but have so often we tire of them, Julia's recipe was retired when our last child went off to school. I've been going through magazines and cookbooks selecting those that will be donated and given a new home at our library's next used book sale. When I came to MAFC I stopped what I was doing and began to page through its well-worn pages. I came to the potato pancake recipe and knew they would be part of our dinner tonight. You must be forewarned, these are not a dieter's delight. If you are watching your weight, run to the nearest exit. If you allow yourself to fall from grace occasionally, do give these pancakes a try. I have a few cautions to share with you. You'll be much happier with the pancakes if you grate the potatoes on a box grater rather than in a food processor. I've altered the recipe to include carrots along with the potatoes. If you prefer not to use them, simply add another cup of potatoes to the mixture and you'll be fine. Prior to cooking, taste the batter carefully for a final addition of salt and pepper, and, as with all pancakes, do not attempt to turn them until they have browned at the edges. As it turned out, the potato pancakes ended up being dinner rather part of it. I poached eggs to put on top of them, and along with a salad, the pancakes made a great light supper. I'm always surprised by how few of Julia's early recipes are actually on the internet. I was not able to find this elsewhere, so I thought you might want to add it as a footnote to your collection of her recipes. Here is how her potato pancakes are made.
Julia's Potato Pancakes...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Julia Child via Mastering the Art of French Cooking
1 (8-oz.) package cream cheese
3 tablespoons flour
6-oz. gruyere cheese, cut in 1/8-inch dice
3 cups peeled and grated russet or other baking potato
1 cup peeled and grated carrots
3 to 6 tablespoons heavy cream
Optional additions: 1/2 cup diced ham, or 1/2 cup sauteed mushrooms, chicken livers or onions, 3 to 4 tablespoons fresh herbs (i.e. parsley, chines, chervil)
1) Mash cream cheese and flour together in a large bowl.
2) Add eggs, salt and pepper and beat until smooth. Stir gruyere cheese into cream cheese mixture.
3) Peel potatoes and carrots and grate them using large holes of a box grater. Using a clean kitchen towel, twisting potatoes into a ball in a corner of towel, and squeezing out as much liquid as possible. Alternatively, use a potato ricer to extract liquid from potatoes. Stir potatoes and carrots into egg and cheese mixture.
4) Stir in cream, a spoonful at a time, just until mixture resembles a thick, creamy coleslaw. The mixture should not be runny. Add any optional ingredients you are using and adjust seasoning to taste. You will probably want to add additional salt and pepper.
5) Set a well-seasoned cast iron skillet or nonstick frying pan over moderately high heat. Add butter and oil and when foam subsides, ladle 3 piles of of batter into pan, forming pancakes that are approximately 3-inches in diameter and 3/8 of an inch thick. Cook until bottoms are lightly brown and bubbles form on top surface, about 3 minutes. Turn and brown the other side, about 3 minutes more. Transfer to a platter and keep warm in a single layer while making the remaining pancakes. Yield: 18 pancakes.
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