for those unfamiliar with these typically jewish appetizers or snacks, knishes can be formed from doughs of several types: a flaky pastry one, a puff pastry one, a short crusted one (mock puff pastry), a paper thin strudel type one, or as i posted a more bread-y type.
for this 'recipe rerun', and as requested by several people, i am posting two additional recipes. both are great, quite easy to make and result with fantastic finished knishes. the recipes come from the prolific and well known jewish cookbook author, norene gilletz — a fellow canadian. check out her site and recipes :)
the recipe for potato-onion filling can be found in the original post i did. you can use whatever fillings you like as long as they do not "run" while baking. popular fillings are potato, buckwheat (kasha), mushroom, various vegetable and even meat ones.
flaky pastry dough for knishes
aka flaky ginger ale pastry
this is a very easy-to-put-together and always successful dough, especially if done in a food processor. it can be frozen for later use. its success is in the use of a carbonated liquid for the 'wet' ingredient. see the recipe for options.
makes enough for 12 knishes (recipe can be doubled)
1 c plus 1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/2 c frozen margarine* (1 stick), cut in 8 pieces
1/4 c cold carbonated beverage** — ginger ale or 7 UP or carbonated water
1 1/2 tsp white vinegar
*margarine is used in order to adhere to jewish dietary laws as these are often served at meals with meat; you can try butter but i can't guarantee results as i've never tried it.
**do NOT use regular water or diet drinks
before starting, take note that you will not (most likely) need ALL of the wet ingredients, so do not be overzealous and add all of it at once or you'll have a mess and a ruined recipe. you've been forewarned! :)
if you cut the margarine into 8 pieces and put them on a plastic wrap lined plate, they freeze within an hour or so. if you freeze the whole block, it takes much longer.
in a food processor or bowl, combine the flour with the frozen margarine.
process it with pulses or use a pastry cutter in the bowl to make a crumbly mixture. you don't want any chunks.
in a small pyrex, combine the carbonated drink with the vinegar.
slowly add the wet to the dry a tablespoon at a time until you get a somewhat (rounded) ball of dough. if using the food processor, turn it on and steadily add the liquid and process until it JUST starts to make the ball.
discard the remaining wet ingredients.
take the dough and divide it equally in half on a floured board.
make two discs and wrap them in waxed paper or plastic wrap. you can do this directly on them.
refrigerate the dough discs or freeze them. if refrigerating, wait a good 2 1/2 to 3 hours for it to fully chill to make rolling easy. you can leave them overnight.
defrost, if frozen, until pliable and still cold.
forming your knishes:
for this dough, make an 8" x 12" rectangle only. it doesn't sound quite big enough but it is.
make sure your counter is well floured and don't be too rough with it. flouring the dough is essential to success here. i also find rolling it out between two pieces of parchment or wax paper the easiest and cleanest method; your dough doesn't stick to the rolling pin.
if you cannot get an exact rectangle that is 8 x 12, use your hands to shape the borders.
take the appropriate amount of filling (it should measure about 1.5 to 2 inches in width and run the length of the piece of dough) and place it evenly along the long side of the dough, leaving about a 1/2" border or so just before the filling. leave about a 1/2 inch border on either side also.
carefully roll it up fairly tightly. use the wax paper as a guide and tool as such:
grab the bottom edge of the waxed paper and pull it up and over to cover the filling.
continue rolling using the paper to guide the direction and correct the tension.
use the wax paper to tighten the roll as necessary. continue rolling until you get to the top edge.
why use wax paper and not just roll it without? the dough is delicate when rolled thinly. it makes rolling very easy and lowers the risk for screw-ups.
seal the edges lightly!
the finished roll .....
preheat your oven to 350F.
now the fun part: cutting the dough. traditionally, this is done with the side of your hand and NOT a knife. it is done in a sawing motion back and forth. this serves to seal the knishes.
as you do this, you will fuse the edges.
cut the knishes with your hand equally into 6 pieces per disc of dough. make a rough "guess-timate" with your eye before going ahead and making them too large.
place the cut knishes on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. you can seal up the tops and press them in slightly.
bake the knishes (no egg wash) for about 40 minutes or until nicely golden. keep an eye on them.
* * * * * * *
warm water knish dough
makes enough for 24 knishes
this recipe makes a very pliable and easy to work dough. it uses eggs and warm water and is like a strudel dough which is very thin. you need a large (11 c) food processor to make the full recipe. if you have a small one, make 1/2 recipe at a time or 2 batches.
1/2 c oil
1/2 c warm water
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2.5 c all purpose flour
in a food processor, put the eggs, oil and water. mix until blended.
add the remaining salt, baking powder and flour and process ONLY JUST until it is blended. do NOT process it for longer or it will not work: you do not want to develop the elasticity of the gluten.
remove the dough and cut it in 4 equal sections. cover the pieces you are not working with and keep them apart from each other or they will fuse together again. best to keep them on a lightly floured plate or plates.
take one piece of dough and flour it well all over. coax the dough, on a well floured board or counter, into a rough rectangle.
roll out the dough, keeping the shape of a rectangle, as thinly possible. you should be able to see your hands underneath it.
again, place your filling along the long side of the dough keeping a 1/2 inch border.
roll up the dough and cut it using a sawing motion with your hand as in the previous recipe.
place them on an oiled or lined sheet & bake your knishes at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden.
n.b. for both recipes, you can freeze your unbaked knishes and bake them directly frozen at 350F for about 3/4 of an hour. i can't guarantee 100% perfection with the potato filled ones, though. potatoes don't tend to freeze well.