Sephardic Sicilian Potato Pancakes with Caramelized Orange and Sour Cream

April 5, 2012
Sephardic Sicilian Potato Pancakes with Caramelized Orange and Sour Cream

Author Notes: These little hors d’oeuvres are creamy and rich with potato and shallot, and the surprise of the caramelized orange (a gift from Sicily) is quite a delight! They are adapted from an ancient recipe of unknown origin, but one that I have loved for many years.

What is special about these is that a cooked puréed orange is added to the mashed potato base, and as the pancakes bake, the orange caramelizes on the outside of the pancake. A sour cream topping brings it all together.

The common use of citrus in Sicilian cuisine is the result of the Turks conquering Sicily in the 9th century. They brought with them citrus, raisins, dates, nuts, and much more.


Food52 Review: Good looking appetizer and a good way to stay on budget. So easy to make, they can be baked earlier and just reheated last minute, especially if you are making a lot. I used some cooked clementine that I had in leftover in the freezer from another recipe. And while I made only a half recipe (since I was a bit skeptical about the combination of potato and orange but intrigued to try), they did surprise me. Next time I will spice up the sour cream and make sure to season well with salt and pepper. anka

Makes: 80 hors d'oeuvre-sized; serves 6 as side dish


Cooking the orange

  • 1 small whole orange, preferably seedless
  • Pinch of baking soda

Potato pancakes

  • 3 to 4 medium baking potatoes (2 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled and finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sour cream, for serving
In This Recipe


Cooking the orange

  1. Place the orange (whole and unpeeled) in a saucepan, cover it with water, add the baking soda, cover the pot, and simmer 45 to 50 minutes. Drain, cut up, and remove any seeds. Purée orange (with peel) in a food processor.

Potato pancakes

  1. Peel the potatoes, cube, and steam 5 to 10 minutes until very tender and easily pierced with a skewer. (Or blanch potatoes 'til tender.) Mash potatoes while hot with a potato masher, not a mixer or processor. They are better if there is still some texture in them, so a few lumps are fine.
  2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan. In the hot butter, cook shallots until translucent. Add puréed orange and cook until mixture is fairly dry. Combine with potato, salt, pepper, and egg yolks.
  3. Roll the mixture into walnut-sized balls. Place 2 1/2 inches apart on baking sheet lined with nonstick-sprayed parchment paper or a Silpat. Use your palms (dipped in water) to flatten balls into discs of 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch thickness.
  4. Bake in 400° F oven for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and caramelized around the edges. Serve with a dollop of sour cream.
  5. Steaming Note: Steaming potatoes preserves their vitamins better, rather than losing nutritional value in blanching water. It is also a much faster and safer method than boiling. I use an easily-stored 2-tiered aluminum steamer with a domed lid that I found in a Chinese restaurant supply store.
  6. Notes: If you want to make these as a brunch side dish, you could also pat a 1/2-inch layer of the mixture to fill a hot oiled nonstick pan, and cook 'til bottom is browned. Flip the large cake, cook 'til bottom is browned and interior is hot, then slide out onto a platter and cut into wedges.

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