Sweet Potato Casserole Latkes Combine the Very Best of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah
Don’t let your Thanksgiving sweet potatoes go to waste!
Some may say that 2013 was the year of selfies and Candy Crush, but it was an especially notable year for the convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. Due to the Hebrew and Gregorian calendars following different lengths, the dates we celebrate Hanukkah change every year. Sometimes the festival of lights falls close to Christmas, but other years it starts in late November. In 2013, the two holidays overlapped for the first time since the late 1800s and for the last time until 2070.
Because of the rarity, we knew that we had to go big. There was an inflatable dreidel in the Macy’s Day Parade, a turkey-shaped menorah and tons of mash-up food, like challah stuffing and pumpkin pie-filled blintzes. And, because Hanukkah is all about miracles, we actually have a chance to celebrate Thanksgivukkah again. This year, Hanukkah starts just three days after Thanksgiving. While it’s not exactly an overlap, it is a beautiful excuse to use your Thanksgiving leftovers for your Hanukkah celebration.
When I first brainstormed new recipes for this year, I dreamt long and hard of a Hanukkah-inspired turducken (still not exactly sure how this would work out) or pecan pie-stuffed Hanukkah sufganiyot doughnuts. But then I asked myself, “Who doesn’t love sweet potatoes?” They are essential to both holidays and delicious when smashed, roasted and, of course, fried. Plus, you can easily purchase too many and might be wondering what to do with them. That’s why I decided to combine the best of both holidays with Sweet Potato Casserole Latkes.
When creating this recipe, I knew that I didn’t just want a delicious latke — I wanted to play into the sweet potato flavors, too. Marshmallows on sweet potatoes are as divisive as toasting a bagel. Some fault the tradition with being a marshmallow marketing campaign (true story) or with trying to turn a side dish into a dessert (my sweet tooth would never complain). But, at the end of the day, sweet potato casserole is a tradition that people find delicious and comforting, and that is exactly what a Thanksgiving and Hanukkah recipe should be.
Sweet potato latkes are often thought to be inferior to classic russet potato latkes. Because sweet potatoes have a lower starch level and more sugar, they brown easily but are not always as crispy. The solution? Up the starch content by using potato starch as a binding agent. Before serving, top the sweet potato latkes with toasted mini marshmallows and homemade candied pecans for a latke that is sweet, crunchy and a little spicy. It’s a recipe I’ll make again and again, and definitely a new tradition I’m thankful for.
Amy Kritzer Becker is the founder of the modern Jewish cooking blog What Jew Wanna Eat (https://whatjewwannaeat.com/) and author of the 2016 cookbook Sweet Noshings. She is also the owner of the cool Jewish gifts store ModernTribe. (https://moderntribe.com/) After a stint in NYC as a conference producer, Amy moved to Austin, TX to escape cold weather. Soon after, Amy left the business world to attend culinary school to work on her true passion. As she worked as a personal chef and did live cooking demos and classes at a local supermarket, her blog grew and gained recognition. Amy has had the opportunity to develop recipes, such as Avocado Latkes Breakfast Tacos or Pumpkin Fig Rugelach for numerous publications and she has spoken on the topics of culture, entrepreneurship, and food at events around the world like SXSW and Nosh Berlin. Amy and her recipes have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, The Today Show, Food & Wine and now The Food Network. In Fall 2017, she appeared on an episode of Guy’s Grocery Games on The Food Network. Amy lives in California with her husband.