Knishes!

Knishes!

I've never had knishes before, but I've always wanted to try them. I remember reading Judy Bloom novels as a teen, and she often worked Jewish themes into her books. For some reason, the talk about Yiddish and knishes and matzo ball soup seemed so exotic to me. I think it's important to state here that I grew up in a tiny, tiny town in Oregon where cows outnumber people and  wheat fields are everywhere. Also, I really, really wanted to work at the flour mill when I grew up. We didn't have a Jewish deli in the tiny, tiny town, so I didn't have a chance to try the exotic knishes. It wasn't until I moved to Los Angeles that I found myself in a near proximity to roughly four thousand Jewish delis. That's when I realized that not all Jewish delis are the same, and that some are really, really bad.  After a few less than good ones, I lost my interest in them and in trying all the different foods, and moved on to sushi. Because that is the other thing LA is full of, sushi bars.

I came across pictures of knishes in one of my recent food porn sessions, and decided that I was finally going to try them. Apparently, there are as many recipes and methods of making knish as there are Jewish grandmothers, so I basically picked a recipe at random to start. It's a basic flour, egg, fat, and water dough, with baking powder instead of yeast. I did it in the food processor, which is incredibly fast and easy. For the filling, I made mashed potatoes with cream cheese, added caramelized onions, and browned ground beef.  Instead of making a log of dough wrapped around filling, I opted to section the dough and roll out each knish separately. It's a little more time consuming, but it's kind of fun. the filling goes on the rolled out dough, and the sides of the dough are brought up and pleated around the filling, then pinched closed. The knishes go on a baking sheet with the seam side down.  When all are done, they get brushed with egg wash, a vent for steam cut in the top, and then into a 375 degree oven until the dough is golden brown and happy. And wow, are they happy.

 Look how happy that is. You can see the layers of filling, the knish strata. Hahahaha. I turned the knish on the right over to show how fun the pleating underside is. And, not one burst open in the oven, so I feel pretty lucky about that!  I have to say, these little delights are every bit as good as I thought they would be. I'll probably try other recipes to find the one I like the best, but this was a very successful start!

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