This recipe was created by chef Todd Ginsberg of Atlanta restaurant The General Muir. Applesauce is a classic topping for potato pancakes and he took this sweet-savory pairing to the next level with homemade apple compote and shards of aged Cheddar cheese. Ginsberg dices Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, or Arkansas Black apples, then cooks them down in a saucepan with butter, turbinado (or light brown) sugar, and lemon juice until they form a soft, chunky sauce, about 15 minutes. This Warm Apple Compote is delicious served over oatmeal, pancakes, or even as a topping for vanilla ice cream. But our Test Kitchen raved about how “warm and homey” it was spooned atop hot, crisp latkes. The aged cheddar is another brilliant addition to the recipe—it has a complex, tangy flavor that balances out the sweetness of the compote and pairs beautifully with the fried potatoes. Avoid extra-sharp varieties of Cheddar, which will overpower the dish. Ginsberg prefers frying latkes in clarified butter, but this recipe will work just as well with canola or vegetable oil. The latkes can be made in advance and then reheated, especially when they are cooked on a griddle instead of deep-fried (which can make them soggy). Cook the latkes up to 4 hours ahead of time, and don't refrigerate. A half hour before serving, crisp up the latkes on the griddle and then transfer them to a baking sheet with a thin layer of clarified butter on the bottom. Place them in a 400˚F oven for 3 to 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound small Pink Lady, Honeycrisp, or Arkansas Black apples, 1/2-inch diced
2 tablespoons turbinado sugar or light brown sugar
Melt butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high. Stir in apples, sugar, and lemon juice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring often, until apples cook down and sauce thickens, about 15 minutes.
Rinse grated potatoes in a colander with hot water. (Hot water will act as a blanch to prevent discoloration.) Drain and squeeze the potatoes to remove as much excess liquid as possible.
Place potatoes, onion, and eggs in a bowl, and stir to combine. Stir together flour and salt in a small bowl until combined; gradually add to potato mixture, stirring until combined.
Heat Clarified Butter in a large skillet or on an electric griddle over medium-high. Drop 6 to 8 loosely packed 1/4 cupfuls of potato mixture into hot butter; press lightly with a spatula to flatten into 3-inch rounds.
Reduce temperature to medium, and cook until golden, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Place on a plate lined with paper towels. Top Potato Latkes with compote and Cheddar shavings; sprinkle with salt.