Every year, we host a big Hanukkah party for a couple of dozen friends, serving up four or five different kinds of latkes (potato pancakes) at a time. These sweeter latkes, accented with the oniony bite of shallots, are always the first to go. And here’s a time-saving bonus: Because sweet potatoes contain less water than regular baking potatoes, you can grate them in the food processor without worrying about their releasing too much liquid.
Yield: 25 to 30 latkes
2 pounds (900g) Garnet or Jewel sweet potatoes
3 large firm-tart apples (about 1½ pounds total; see Notes), unpeeled, cored, and quartered lengthwise
1. Using the coarse side of a box grater or a food processor fitted with a medium grating disk, grate the potatoes, apples and shallots. Toss together in a large bowl. Add the eggs, matzo meal, salt, and pepper and toss to mix well.
2. Preheat the oven to 200°F. Pour ¾ inch of oil into a skillet over medium-high heat. When the temperature reaches 370°F, scoop ¼ cup potato mixture from the bowl, then gently drop that mixture out onto a wide spatula (the point here is to keep your hands as clean as possible). Press into a patty about 1/3 inch thick with your hand, then gently slide the pancake into hot oil. Cook three or four pancakes at a time (do not crowd the pan) until the edges are crispy and well browned and the undersides are golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Gently turn and cook until the other sides are golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
3. Transfer the pancakes to paper towels to drain briefly, then arrange in a single layer on baking sheets and keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining pancakes. Serve hot, with sour cream and applesauce.
Keep the oil at about 370°F while frying to prevent latkes from turning greasy. Check the heat with a candy thermometer (most quick-read thermometers don’t go high enough) and adjust accordingly.
Make-Ahead Tip: If making ahead, cool the latkes to room temperature, then freeze in zip-top bags. Re-crisp in a 325°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
Apple Notes: I like a green, firm-tart apple here. Rhode Island Greening and Granny Smith would both make excellent choices.