With Deepest Apologies To Jewish Grandmothers: A Guest Post

Today’s post comes from the wonderful Hungry Hippo.  I’m so lucky to have her!

With Deepest Apologies to Jewish Grandmothers

Personally, I do not have a Jewish grandmother.  I have a Jewish grandmother-In-law, but she is not the type with a box full of recipes and a kitchen full of love.  She is the dripping with large rings, taking you out to eat at a great restaurant type of grandmother.  It is a very valuable type to have.  Unless of course it is 6:30 on a weeknight and you find yourself with an overwhelming urge to make knishes. Luckily, I know exactly where to find such a grandmother, so I called Stella Carolyn and pleaded, “Does your grandmother have a knish recipe?”  This was a bit of a ridiculous question.  Of course her grandmother has a knish recipe.  The question should have been “Can you find your grandmother’s knish recipe and do you have time to possibly send it to me even though you are super busy, pretty please, pretty please?”  That was a bit of a ridiculous question too, because if you know her like I do, you know I probably should have just skipped directly to “Thank you for sending me your grandmother’s knish recipe which I need for dinner in 5 minutes.”  Because like her grandmother, she’ll do just about anything for someone she loves.  And I am truly blessed, because she loves ME.

Within minutes I was armed with the recipe and ready to start making dinner.  I did cut the dough recipe in half though, because strictly speaking, I do not need 60 knishes.  Also, as this was my very first time making it, and I did not grow up watching anyone do this, I am certain my technique was horrible.  I could almost hear the whisperings and cluckings of generations of Jewish women as I rolled out the dough (almost certainly not thin enough and definitely not straight enough).  I also quite shamelessly mixed meat and dairy, and while I’m coming clean I should point out that my meat was duck bacon which is really a pretty cheap avoidance of actual bacon.  Complete inexperience and destruction of cultural heritage aside, I would say quite modestly that the knishes were delicious.  The sweet dough, the comforting smooth potato, I mean how can you go wrong with that many carbs.

dough from Stella Carolyn’s Grandma – original says it makes 60, so I halved it.  I didn’t get 30 out of it, but I a) ran out of filling and b) made them a little bit larger

2 1/2 C flour
2 T sugar
1/2 t salt
6 T salad oil
1.5 beaten eggs ( I know, I know, the whole recipe called for 3.  Save your half egg and use it mixed with water to put an egg wash on top before you bake them)
1/2 C lukewarm water

First, sift your dry ingredients ( I just tossed them in the stand mixer and mixed them a bit).  Then make a well, add oil, eggs, water and  mix thoroughly.  Dust a bowl with flour.  Form a ball with the dough and place it in a bowl and cover it with towel.  Let stand 15 minutes. Knead well, then divide into 2 parts.  Work only one part at a time.

The next direction read: roll out and stretch dough into sheet about 20 inches in diameter.  I wasn’t quite sure what that meant, so I made a large rectangle (which I know, doesn’t have a diameter, but whatever).

Then it said to brush sheet with salad oil, which I skipped because the dough was pretty moist.  Next fill dough along line 1 1/2 inches wide and roll dough twice.

You can see how I put the potato filling in a single row and then rolled it to make a tube.

Then cut away from rest of sheet (the rest of my sheet wasn’t big enough to do a second roll so I kneaded it with the remaining dough.  Repeat until all dough has been used.  After rolling, I sort of twisted off little links of dough, rather than just cutting them because that let me sort of seal the dough between them.  Then you brush tops of rolls with oil (or egg) and slice at 1 1/2 inch intervals. (I made mine a bit bigger).  Then place cut side down on an oiled sheet or a silpat.  I also made a slight indent in the top with my thumb.

Bake at 350 for an hour.  Serve hot with soup.

So, I sort of eyeballed and guessed and made it up as I went along, but I believe that this is a Grandma approved method of cooking.

3-4 large russet potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed (you know, like mashed potatoes)  I used 3 big russet potatoes, but as I said, I had some dough left over, so you might try 4.
1-2 C of leek, chopped small and rinsed and soaked to get rid of grit
1/2 C minced baby bella mushrooms
1/4 C mined duck bacon
salt, pepper and oil

Honestly, I might add more of everything next time, increasing all fillings and the ration of goodies to potatoes, but the potatoes are so comforting.  I can’t even explain.  Just make it.

Heat up your oil in a large frying pan.  Add your ingredients and cook until they are soft.  If you have the time, let your leeks or onion (if you prefer onion) to caramelize.  Even more delicious.  When your leeks, mushrooms and bacon are all done, mix them in with your mashed potatoes.  Then you are ready to stuff!

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