Popular at bake sales, school fundraising events, and across the Coal Region in general, this old-fashioned jelly-roll type potato based candy is known in the Anthracite region as “Flitch” although many “flitch” recipes do not use the potato — so technically this is officially “POTATO CANDY”. (The recipe goes back generations in many regions, but is well connected to the Pa. Dutch who likely made it as a way of using up left over cooked potatoes – we are a frugal lot!). I find it addicting and it was a favorite of mine as far back as I can remember.
I used to get particularly excited when autumn and my high school’s Homecoming Queen season rolled around — not because I had any particular interest or stake in that annual ritual, but because it meant the chances of finding a candidate had set up a table in the hall outside of the cafeteria and filled it with goodies to sell to raise funds in her bid for the crown was astronomical.
As I sidled up to the table, I immediately scanned it for potato candy. Being it was in the Coal Region, I was rarely disappointed! Flitch was one of the most popular items, was always priced right, and every Mom’s was just as delicious as the other. Perfect!! To this day, I can close my eyes and be transported back 40 years to that hallway and the little plastic wrapped pieces of flitch just calling my name.
Keep in mind the larger the potato you use and the more moisture in the potato, the more confectioners sugar you will need to obtain the correct consistency for rolling. I usually just use a white all-purpose potato. You can use left over mashed potatoes from dinner, but you may need to adjust powdered sugar used to compensate for the added butter/milk already in the potato. (I skip using leftover potatoes if they are seasoned with black pepper.)
Have plenty of confectioners sugar available before starting. When mixing in the sugar, be prepared to get messy and — use your HANDS (some of the most important tools for any cook!). I have found it impossible to achieve the proper final consistency of the potato/sugar mixture without mixing by hand.
I also use a smooth, easy-to-spread peanut butter. I have found the “natural” peanut butters that need stirring before using to be hard to spread into a nice thin layer, but the choice of PB is up to you.
Wrap your rolled candy tightly in plastic wrap to store. I keep mine in the refrigerator until serving.
Flitch – Potato CandyCourse: Dessert, CandyCuisine: Pa. Dutch, Coal RegionDifficulty: Easy
This old-fashioned jelly-roll type potato based candy is known in the Anthracite region as “flitch” .
1 small potato (about the size of an egg)
1 pound confectioners sugar or quantity as needed
Vanilla extract (optional)
- Boil or bake the unpeeled potato. Peel as soon as you can handle it. Make sure to use a SMALL potato as directed.
- In a dish, mash potato smooth with a fork. While still warm, begin mixing in confectioners sugar. Continue adding sugar and mixing until the mixture is the consistency of firm yet pliable dough. If desired, add a few drops of vanilla when mixing.
- Sprinkle a little confectioners sugar on a cutting board, or put the dough between two sheets of wax paper or parchment paper, and roll the mixture to a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.
- Spread peanut butter atop the rolled “dough”, almost to the edges.
- Roll up the sheet from the long end, loosening it from the paper or board with a knife as you roll. (This is rolled like a jellyroll)
- Cut into slices and serve.
- Store, covered, in refrigerator.