Traditionally, we eat potato latkes (pancakes) on Chanukah. We eat foods prepared with oil to commemorate the miracle of the oil in the Beis Hamikdash (Holy Temple) once the Jews were victorious over the Greeks. After the miraculous war, the Jews entered the desecrated Temple and only found enough pure olive oil to light the Menorah (candelabra) for one day. The tiny bit of oil lasted for an entire eight days, enough time for the Jews to get new pure oil to light the Menorah in the Beis Hamikdash, so that the Menorah would be continuously lit.
While latkes are so traditionally linked to Chanukah, there are so many foods that contain olive oil that may just as well commemorate the oil miracle of the Temple.
Truth be told, I hate to fry latkes.
It just takes too much time, too much splatter and it is so hard to manage while entertaining a houseful of guests.
I usually make one batch of latkes just for the first night and find other make-in-advance olive oil alternatives when we entertain guests over Chanukah.
This year, I have adapted my favorite potato kugel recipe to make baked potato kugelatkes. I made them in a bundt-shaped muffin tin, but they can easily be baked in a cupcake tin, as well.
They are simple to prepare, beautiful and delicious to behold, require no frying and can be prepared well in advance of the Chanukah meal.
3 large potatoes,peeled
1 small onion
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
4 tablespoons potato starch
1/2 cup boiling water
olive oil or oil spray for coating muffin wells
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Squirt or generously spray wells of muffin tin with oil.
Place 1 potato, eggs, onion, salt and pepper in food processor fitted with the S-blade. Process until smooth.
Carefully add hot water and potato starch and process until smooth.
Grate the remaining 2 potatoes into the bowl of the food processor, using the shredder attachment.
Combine all ingredients.
Place muffin pan in oven for a few minutes until oil is hot. Remove pan from oven and carefully add potato mixture using a spoon or scoop and leveling out each well once filled.
Bake at 500 degrees for 10 minutes. Then, lower oven temperature to 400 degrees F and continue to bake the kugel for 10-20 more minutes.
The kugelatkes should look crispy and golden on top.
As a gorgeous Chanukah appetizer, place 1-2 kugelatkes on appetizer plate. Using a spoon, spoon a dolup of applesauce or sour cream on plate. Using the back of the spoon, spread the applesauce or sour cream to create a flourish.
I have found that my ramekins are just a bit larger than the applesauce containers that can be purchased. I just place the applesauce container in the ramekin for serving. That way, I can easily remove the leftover applesauce from the ramekin and reuse.