As we approached the tent, it was not immediately clear that there were two lines and that we happened to be standing in the longer one. Not coincidentally, it was the line was for the potato pancakes. Eventually greeted by the sizzle of an active griddle, several hard-working cooks manned their stations churning out plate-sized pancakes two by two. The line moved quickly, and we were apparently in the hands of experts who knew how to move things along.
here for a sample of their weekly menus. You may find yourself wanting to be a member sooner than you think.
I couldn't help but notice that the price for all of the delicious Liederkranz food we ordered, which included a giant bratwurst, weisswurst (veal sausage), sauerkraut, two super-sized potato pancakes, cherry kuchen, and apple strudel (all made from scratch)—came out to be less than $20. $19 to be exact. When I innocently commented on how reasonable the prices were, it was as if I were holding the golden ticket to the secret world of potato pancakes. A few friendly exchanges and one business card later, I was quickly shuttled to the frying area where I was able to meet the head chef responsible for the Lancaster Liederkranz's yearly following at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire's Oktoberfest weekend.
“We make them with coarsely grated potatoes. We also add green onions in addition to regular onions, carrots and plenty of pepper. Just a little bit of flour, not too much, keeps the batter from turning black.”
Glenn Yanos, assisting Anneliese at the griddle, having just returned from Oktoberfest in Germany, was quick to boast the superiority of Anneliese’s recipe over those served at the Munich festival. Cooked to crispy perfection in Wesson vegetable oil, this recipe makes for both a delicately spicy and colorful pancake.
KARTOFFEL PFANNKUCHEN (POTATO PANCAKES)
Recipe by Anneliese Martin, Lancaster Liederkranz
3 med raw potatoes, peeled and rough grated
1 med onion, small chop
1 carrot, grated
2 green onions thin-sliced
1 T flour
1 tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
Mix all ingredients together. Heat oil in large frying pan. Carefully drop large spoonful of potato batter in oil and form pancake. Fry, and turn until golden brown and crisp on each side. Good served with applesauce.
Unfortunately, the PA Renaissance Faire's Oktoberfest festival runs only one weekend per season, so when you miss it, it's gone. Plan to attend next year's event even under the threat of gloomy weather because, rain or shine, no matter how you slice it, Oktoberfest at the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire is no small potatoes.
For more information, visit www.lancasterliederkranz.com and www.parenfaire.com.
Oktoberfest 2009 runs from September 19th to October 4th. With still several days left to plan your celebration, be sure to whip up a batch of Anneliese's Kartoffel Pfannkuchen for an authentic German plate your family and friends will never forget!