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What Is a Pickert?

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  • Written By: Angie Bates
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 16 November 2016
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A type of German peasant food, a pickert is a thick potato pancake or dumpling that is fried. Pickerts are made be served as a side dish or a main course, and generally are served with some sort of syrup, liver sausage, or coffee. Though recipes for this dish are highly varied, the two main variations are termed kastenpickert and lappenpickert.

From Westphalia, kastenpickert is made with yeast and potatoes. Milk, sugar, eggs, and flour are also necessary ingredients. Raisins are usually included, but may be omitted. Salt is generally the only other seasoning added.

To make kastenpickerts, the potatoes are grated, and the resulting liquid is discarded. Then, the milk is warmed and used to dissolve the yeast. Once the yeast mixture is bubbly, the potatoes and flour are combined with the mixture. After all the ingredients are thoroughly combined, the dough is allowed to rise to double its size. Some versions suggest dusting the raisins in flour and adding them to the dough before it rises, others, after.

Afterward, the dough is placed into a greased pan and left to rise again, usually to about one-third again its size. The dough is baked for as long as two hours then allowed to cool. Once cooled, the pickert is sliced and then fried in oil or butter. Finished pickerts are crispy and golden colored.

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Conversely, lappenpickert does not use yeast. In addition to potatoes, eggs, all-purpose flour, and salt are the only completely consistent ingredients across recipes. Either milk or sour cream is always included as well. Onions, garlic, and chives may also be added.

Just like kastenpickerts, lappenpickerts require the potatoes to be peeled, grated, and drained of all excess liquid. If onions are used, they are peeled and grated as well. Garlic is crushed. To make lappenpickerts, all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed in a bowl until a thick batter forms. Then, thick, roughly circular pancakes are poured into an oiled pan and fried on both sides.

Both versions of pickerts may include bread crumbs as well. In kastenpickerts, the bread crumbs are sprinkled over the top before baking. Lappenpickerts mix the crumbs into the batter with the rest of the ingredients.

A variety of oils may be used to fry the pickerts. Sunflower, vegetable, or even salad oil may be used. Butter is also a common alternative to oil.

Pickerts may be served with many different toppings or sides. Kastenpickerts are traditionally served with liver sausage. Cinnamon-sugar milk, sugar beet syrup, or apple sauce may also be served with these pancakes.

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