Sweet cheese latkes or pancakes are an Ashkenazi Jewish classic with delicate texture and wonderful flavor. This version is made with ricotta cheese, which makes them light and delicious.
I'm not sure who in my childhood made these for me, but their taste is familiar, as though embedded in my memory (collective memory maybe?). They're delicately textured with the classic flavor of sweet cheese, that old-world darling that deserves a heartfelt comeback. Similar latkes (or levivot, in Hebrew, or just pancakes, if you prefer) are made with farmer's cheese, but here we're using an airy ricotta for a slightly different flavor and texture.
Making cheese latkes
These latkes come together fast in the food processor, which blitzes them into an thick, even batter in a few seconds flat. All you have to do is add all the ingredients and process. Then you'll dollop thick, smallish rounds of the batter onto a hot skillet or griddle and cook for a few minutes on each side.
The latkes are especially good fried in butter, though oil works too. You do need to watch them a bit more closely than regular pancakes, because the cheese inside makes them burn more easily. You want the wonderful telltale crispy browned rings on the cooked latkes, but not too dark. You also want the center to cook through without the exterior burning, so adjust the heat as needed. You can keep them warm in the oven at low heat, about 200F / 90C.
A traditional accompaniment to these ricotta cheese latkes is a dollop of cream cheese, and drizzle of honey, and fresh berries or jam. (It seems like sour cream would be superfluous on a cheese latke, but it's really not.) My kids like them with nutella (of course) and they're good with maple syrup, too.
Need more latkes?
- Classic Potato Latkes - I'll go all in on this being a year-round food, although it's obviously mandatory to make potato latkes at Chanukah.
- Carrot Latkes - Savory and wonderful.
- Beet Latkes with Fresh Thyme - Why not a farm-to-table latke? These are unbelievably good.
Ricotta Cheese Latkes (dairy)
- Food processor
- 1 ½ cups ricotta cheese (a 16 oz medium container) - 450 g
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup all-purpose flour - 95 g
- 3 Tbsp granulated sugar - 40 g
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract - optional
- butter or oil - for frying
- Add all ingredients to a food processor and process until a smooth, thick but pourable batter forms.
- Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Add the butter or oil and when it's hot, spoon the batter on, about 2-3 tablespoons per latke. Watching carefully because the latkes are prone to burn, cook until firm and golden on the first side, 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook for another 1-2 minutes on the second side. Adjust the heat down if needed and add more butter/oil between batches.