My annual “December Dilemma” is how to cook enough potato latkes to satisfy my family during our Hanukkah get-together. I’ve tried cooking them in advance and reheating them in the oven just before serving, but they’re just not as good. And when I try to prepare them just before dinner time, it requires 2-3 pans going at once and the house smells for DAYS afterward. AND most of the latkes never even make it to the table because they get eaten right out of the pan. This year I’m having 15 for dinner so I’m considering defaulting to a potato kugel instead of latkes. I know, I know – it’s NOT the same. But a kugel (or two) will be so much more manageable.
I typically make potato kugel in a rectangular baking dish in the oven. But I had the idea that maybe a large cast iron skillet would work better. My thought was to get the skillet blazing hot in the oven, then pour in the kugel batter, lower the oven heat a bit and let it bake. That way, the bottom and sides would crisp up from the heat of the pan, and I can crisp the top at the end of cooking under the broiler.
What inspired me to think about making kugel this way was baking no-knead bread in a preheated cast iron pot, and loving the crust that develops. Has anyone ever tried this kind of technique with kugel? If so, can you tell me how it worked out? Thanks!