The original knish was created as a snack food, in Eastern Europe a thin pastry that encased a filling that was transportable. In the Lower east side of New York at the turn of the 20th century peddlers would put homemade knish’s in their carts and peddle their wares as a quick snack. In 1890 Yonah Schimmel a Rabbi from Romania started peddling his wife’s k’nishes in the streets of New York, in 1910 he opened a store front and after moving down the road a few years later, the knisheri has been in the same location ever since. Though they make knishs filled with a huge verity of ingredients, potato remains the most popular filling. Though Yonah Schimmel’s recipe is a closely guarded secret, this adaptation based on the Savure recipe is a close replica.
· The mashed potatoes filling can be made a day ahead and kept in the fridge until ready to fill the knishes.
· You will have some mashed potato filling leftover – but that’s not bad is it?
For Potato Filling:
2.5 kilo (about 10 large potatoes), peeled and quartered
8 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper
190 g (1 1⁄2 cups) plain flour
¼ teaspoon salt
120 ml (1/2 cup) water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk
For the filling:
Place potatoes into a large pot, cover with cold water, add about a tablespoon of salt, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until soft, about 30 minutes. Drain, then transfer to a large bowl.
While the potatoes boil, prepare the onions; In a large sauté pan heat the 8 tablespoons of oil, until the oil is shimmering. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 15 minutes, try to not let them brown too much. Transfer to bowl with potatoes and mash with a potato masher. Taste the mashed potatoes, add more salt if needed and season with freshly ground black pepper. Set aside to cool completely before using in the knish.
For the dough:
Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Add (120 g) 1⁄2 cup water and 1 tablespoon of oil to the well, then, using a large spoon, gradually stir flour into liquid until dough forms a rough ball. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 5-10 minutes. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with cling film, and set aside for 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 180°C. Line a large baking sheet with waxed or parchment paper and set aside. Combine egg and 1 tablespoon water in a small bowl and set egg wash aside.
Divide dough into 10 equal pieces, then shape each into a small ball. Making one knish at a time, keeping remaining dough covered with plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out.
To make each knish, using a floured rolling pin, roll out dough ball on a lightly floured surface into a 16 cm (7 inch) circle. Mound about ¾ cup of the mashed potato filling in centre of dough and fold dough up and around sides, leaving top of filling exposed but overlapping edges of dough slightly to make a snug fit around filling. Transfer knishes, as finished, to baking sheet, brush tops with egg wash, grind some more pepper on top, and repeat with remaining dough and filling. Once all the knishes are formed, bake until lightly golden, 25-30 minutes.