Knish is an eastern European Jewish-Yiddish snack. It is a dumpling covered with a dough shell that is either baked or fried. In the most traditional version, the dumpling is made entirely of mashed potato.
The knish started to become popular in the early 1900s, when Jews emigrated to America and settled in New York City.
Originally they were made at home until Yonah Schimmel, a rabbi from Romania, began to sell them at Coney Island in New York City from a pushcart on the Lower East Side.
In 1910, he opened his first knish bakery located on East Houston Street and, as they say, the rest is history!
They are now one of the most popular street snacks, ranging from the size of a canapé to a large hamburger.
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Preparation time: 20 minutes plus 30 minutes to stand | Cooking time: 30 minutes | Makes: 4/5
300g plain flour
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs 2 teaspoons salt
2 to 3 tablespoons water
2 egg yolks – lightly beaten
Potato filling: 450g mashed potatoes
2 medium sized onions – peeled and finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Put all the ingredients in the food processor and whiz together to form a smooth dough.
2. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C /400 F/ Gas mark 4.
4. Divide the dough into 3. Lightly dust the work surface with some flour and roll in to strips 20cm x 10cm.
5. Place a third of the filling along the length of the dough. Roll up like a swiss-roll. Repeat the process with the other 2 pieces of dough.
6. Cut into slices. Place the knishes on a baking tray on the flat side leaving about a 5cm gap between each one.
7. Pull up the dough at the top of the knish, very gently, and squeeze it together so that it meets at the centre, then push it down into the filling just a bit. If the filling pushes out a bit in the centre of the pastry that is perfectly fine – a little bit sticking out is normal.
8. Glaze with egg yolk and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
NB: While baking, the bottom of the pastry forms a crust and so the potato mixture does not fall out.
For the potato filling:
1. Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan and sauté the onions until golden brown. Put in the food processor briefly to make the mixture finer.
2. Mix with the potatoes, salt and freshly ground black pepper.
3. Fill knishes.