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We Wish You Lots of Latkes

I want to make potato pancakes for the holiday, but don't want to be slaving over a hot frying pan when my guest come.  How can I prepare them ahead of time, store them, and reheat them?
-- Eileen

You can make the pancakes ahead of time and either refrigerate or freeze them.  When it is time to serve them, place the pancakes in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet, cover with foil, and reheat in a 375°F (190°C) oven.  Frozen pancakes will take about 8 to 10 minutes to reheat.  Ones that were refrigerated should take about 5 to 7 minutes.  In either case, I would suggest taking the foil off for the last minute to release moisture and dry the pancakes out a bit.  Check to be sure they are heated through before serving.

To freeze potato pancakes, line a cookie sheet with waxed paper or aluminum foil, add a single layer of pancakes, another lay of waxed paper or foil, and so on.  Cover with foil or plastic wrap and place the sheet full of pancakes flat into the freezer.  Once the pancakes are frozen solid they can be carefully peeled off of the paper or foil, and stored in freezer bags.  This method helps keep the pancakes from sticking to each other and minimizes the time it takes to freeze them.  They should keep well for 4 to 6 weeks.

To refrigerate, simply store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 or 4 days.  Don't stack them too deep, though, to avoid flattening the ones on the bottom.

My experience, however, with the Latkes that my parents made is that they lost too much in the transition.  Because Latkes tend to be fairly fatty, by the time they are done with cooling and reheating  the oil has penetrated into the pancakes.  The result is an oily mouthfeel and an unpleasantly damp interior.  Depending on your recipe, this may be less of a problem.

My recommendation would be to try a small batch sometime before the day of your party, refrigerate or freeze them, reheat them and see if you are happy with the result.   Then you can decide if you want to make them ahead of time or just prior to serving.

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