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Keeping pancakes crispy

Tonight I made some potato-carrot pancakes, which I had to fry in batches due to the amount I made. I kept the cooked pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven while doing the subsequent batches, and although they came out of the frying pan quite crispy, after 10 minutes in the oven they went soft. I've had this problem with pancakes/fritters before, and I can't figure out how to keep a first batch of these things crispy while I fry up a second batch so they can all be crisp together. Even when I use two pans to double the amount I can cook at once I still need to make more than one batch on each pan for the amount I'm making, so I need another solution!

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

asked over 2 years ago
11 answers 2828 views
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ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added over 2 years ago

I understand your concern, but I don't think there's a viable solution to that problem. I always have the same thing happen when I keep latkes warm in the oven while frying more. The only answer I've ever come up with is to hire someone to fry them a la minute -- not a good option unless it's for a large party.

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Susan W

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added over 2 years ago

This would be an experiment, but I wonder if a quick broil right before serving would crisp them up?

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added over 2 years ago

Probably need to use more oil in the pan to keep the temperature high and even while frying - my guess anyway. Deep frying would get them the most crispy, but not everyone can do that, so I would use as big of a pan as possible, preferably one with steep sides, and get the oil very hot. Peanut/Sunflower seems to work best, and if you and your guests are thoroughly carnivorous, duck fat works wonders. Also with potato pancakes, it helps to remove as much of the extra water as possible immediately after grating - just put the grated potatoes in a cheesecloth or tea towel over a bowl and squeeze out the water. You'll be glad you did.

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HalfPint

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added over 2 years ago

You may want to try to cook ahead then re-crisp in the oven for 10 minutes at 400F.

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added over 2 years ago

Exactly, or reintroduce them to the frying pan, which is what I do with potatoe pancakes. Remove the oil from the pan, wipe it clean, and fry them again in it. The oil in the pancake will be sufficient, and theyll crisp immediately.

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added over 2 years ago

I use saturated fats, clarified butter, lard, tallow, bacon fat, etc.. I don't understand all the chemistry involve. Poly and mono-unsaturated break down during the frying process. I think the denatured, broken down, oil causes premature sogginess.

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

That's an interesting theory, Eric. I did use canola oil b/c that's what I had on hand (did also use most of the other techniques described above -- wringing out liquid, got pan screaming hot, used plenty of oil and left plenty of room in the pan), so perhaps I'll give lard a try next time and see what happens. I appreciate all the suggestions, all.

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Diana B

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added over 2 years ago

When you put them in the oven to keep warm while you did subsequent batches, did you put them on paper towels or directly on a plate or pan? If so, that might be the problem. Try putting them on a rack over your pan so air can circulate all around the pancakes. Putting anything on a paper towel or a plate will tend to allow moisture to concentrate on the bottom and make things soggy.

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Kristen W.

Kristen W. is a trusted home cook.

added over 2 years ago

Diana, I did put them on paper towels, even though it occurred to me at the time that it would have been a good idea to put them on a rack! I was being a little overly-obedient, I think, to the convention in so many recipes to have them put on paper towels. Definitely will try a rack next time as well.

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added over 2 years ago

A rack is key. From the frying pan, rest on paper towel for a few seconds then onto the rack into the oven.

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added over 2 years ago

I was taught this with fried fish. Crumple aluminum foil on a pan and put the fried fish on that. Works a little like a rack. They don't get soggy. Might work for your pancakes.