14 Days of Pi(e): Knishes

Is a knish a pie? Maybe not exactly, but it has filling and dough and is delicious, so I’m judging it close enough for Pi(e) Day. They would be great for a Pi(e) Day potluck (ahem, coworkers!) — like little individual hand pies. The recipe I’m sharing is from Sara Kasdan’s Love and Knishes which is a real gem of a Jewish cookbook, complete with witty banter and solid recipes.

Knishes

Ingredients

5 cups unsifted flour
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 cup salad oil
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup lukewarm water
*Knish Fillings: (for 30 knishes)

Cheese ingredients

3 to 5 large onions, chopped
1/4 pound butter 2 1/2 pounds dry cottage cheese
3 eggs
3 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
Sauté onions in butter until golden. Blend together all ingredients

Potato ingredients

3 onions, chopped
1/2 cup schmaltz or 1/4 pound butter
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 egg
salt and pepper, to taste
Sauté onions in schmaltz or butter until golden. Blend together all ingredients.

Meat ingredients

1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon schmaltz
1 cup cooked beef
1 cup boiled lung
1 cup cooked kasha, cooked rice, or mashed potatoes
1 egg
salt and pepper to taste
Sauté onion in schmaltz until golden. Grind beef and lung together. Combine all ingredients.

Instructions

Sift together dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add oil, eggs, and water. Mix thoroughly. Dust a bowl with flour; invert for a moment to remove excess flour. Place dough in the floured bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let stand for 15 minutes. Knead well on a lightly floured white cloth stretched over the kitchen table. Divide the dough into four parts. Work with one part, keeping the remainder in the covered bowl. Fill one part of the dough before rolling out the next; the sheets of dough will become too dry if allowed to stand. Assembly-line techniques are for the factory, not the kitchen.
Roll and stretch dough into a round sheet about 20 inches in diameter. Brush the sheet with salad oil or melted butter. Starting 1 1/2 inches from the edge neares you, place a line of filling* 1 1/2 inches wide and 1 inch thick across the width of the sheet of dough. Lift the flap nearest you to cover the filling, then roll the filled dough twice. Cut this part away from the remainder of the sheet of dough. Repeat the process until all the dough has been used. Brush the tops of the filled rolls with oil or melted butter. Slice at 1 1/2-inch intervals. Upend each slice, cut side down, on a liberally oiled baking tin. Press down on each slice with the palm of the hand so that it is flattened and rounded. Bake at 350 degrees until lightly browned (about 1 hour). Some cooks prefer to turn the knishes when they are brown on the bottom. Serve piping hot as a soup accompaniment. Makes about 60.

By Love and Knishes: And Irrepressible Guide to Jewish Cooking (1956) by Sara Kasdan

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