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Susquehanna Life

Pennsylvania Has Plenty of Flavorful Recipes for the Holidays

Nov 18, 2014 05:56PM ● By Erica Shames

Moravian Sugar Cake

The Moravians settled in North America, from what is now The Czech Republic and Slovakia, by way of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, in the mid-1700s. This sweet-dough cake, enhanced with butter, sugar and cinnamon, is traditionally served as an Easter morning breakfast treat, but has become the cake of special occasions, especially Christmas. 


1 cup mashed potatoes

¼ pound butter

1 cup scalded milk

1 tsp salt

1 package yeast

2 eggs

½ cup granulated sugar

4 to 5 cups flour


Mix potatoes, milk, salt, sugar, butter and milk.  Let sit until lukewarm. Add eggs and yeast.  Blend in enough of the flour to make a soft dough. Knead and place in a greased bowl. Let rise in a warm place for about 1 ½ hours. Punch down and place in three greased 9-inch cake pans. Let rise; then punch full of holes. Fill the holes with butter and brown sugar, and sprinkle with cinnamon.  Bake at 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes, or until nicely browned. Serve warm.

From The Landis Valley Cookbook, second edition.  Copyright 2009 by Landis Valley Associates.  Used with permission.

Potato Latkes (Pancakes)

Latkes are traditionally eaten during the Hanukkah festival. The oil for cooking the latkes is symbolic of the oil from the Hanukkah story that kept the Second Temple of ancient Israel lit with a long-lasting flame that is celebrated as a miracle. 


1 medium onion, peeled

4 large russet or Idaho potatoes (about 3 1/2 pounds), peeled

2 large eggs

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

Applesauce and/or sour cream, for serving


Preheat oven to 200°F. Place 2 nonstick baking sheets in oven.

Using box grater or food processor fitted with grating disc, coarsely grate onion and place in colander set in sink. Coarsely grate potatoes, add to colander, and set aside to drain.

In large mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs, then whisk in flour.

Press potatoes and onion to extract as much liquid as possible, then add to egg/flour mixture. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Using wooden spoon or hands, mix well, but do not overwork.

In heavy-bottomed, 12-inch skillet (cast iron works well) over moderately high heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter until hot but not smoking. Drop 4  1/4-cup portions of potato mixture into pan and flatten with spatula to form four 3-inch pancakes.

Fry until bottoms are golden-brown, 4 to 5 minutes, then turn over and fry until golden-brown and crisp, an additional 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain; season immediately with salt and pepper. Keep warm on baking sheets in oven while making remaining pancakes.

Using paper towels, carefully wipe out pan. Add 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter and fry 4 more pancakes. Repeat with remaining batter, wiping out pan and adding 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter before each batch.

Serve pancakes hot with applesauce and/or sour cream.

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