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Jewish Food: The World at Table by Matthew Goodman

The knish has become the most well-known filled pastry ofthe Eastern European Jews and is certainly among the most various, with fillings that include potato, cabbage, kasha, and many others. (The Jewish American Cook Book, published in 1946, includes twenty-four types of knish, among them apple, banana, beet, molasses, and raisin & jelly.) Miriam Weinstein, author of the splendid history Yiddish: A Nation of Words, learned how to make knishes from her grandmother Millie (nee Mirke), an immigrant from Odessa. Unlike the pillowy knishes that have become standard in the United States, Millie's knishes were made like strudel: rolled up and then cut into pieces. (If you prefer slightly larger knishes, cut them into 3-inch slices instead of 2-inch ones.) Try them as an accompaniment to roast chicken; they're scrumptious.


2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup milk (optional)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
3/4 cup finely chopped mushrooms
1 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup water
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 egg beaten lightly with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash

1. Make the filling: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add the milk (if using) and mash until smooth. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring often, until soft and lightly colored. Add the mushrooms, salt, and a generous amount of pepper and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms are soft and well browned. Let cool slightly. Add to the potatoes and stir to combine. Set aside.

3. Make the dough: Place the eggs, oil, water, and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. Add the flour gradually, stirring first with a spoon and then working the mixture with your hands, until it is fully combined. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead just until smooth, adding flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking. Form the dough into a ball. Cover with a towel and let rest for 30 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper.

5. Make the knishes: On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out into a rectangle 14 by 10 inches. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, creating 2 rectangles each 14 inches by 5 inches. Divide the filling in half, and spread it evenly along the dough, leaving about 1/2 inch along each long edge. Roll each dough half from one of its long sides into a long roll, pressing the seams together and pinching the ends tight. Press down on the top to flatten the rolls slightly. Place the rolls, seam side down, on the prepared baking sheet and brush the tops with the egg wash.

6. Bake until the dough is golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Use a serrated knife to cut the rolls into 2-inch slices. Serve warm or at room temperature.


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