feasting with friends

K-noshing on Knishes

potato knishesDo you, if only occasionally, nosh on a knish? I do, thanks to the plethora of Jewish delis in our area. Deli food is another of my so called comfort foods. In my opinion, the best sandwich available on the menu is good ole’ corned beef, on marbled rye, with a slim slice of swiss and small spattering of yellow mustard. No fuss… no muss.

potato knishesWalking into a bustling deli in the colder months is a treat for the senses. First the eyes… the windows are typically fogged up from the simmering pots of soup and briskets. That constant blast of cold air from the door opening and closing sees to that! Then the nose… ahhh… the aromas. Chicken soup, corned beef, pastrami. The ears begin to hear the calling out of the orders from counter to kitchen. How they get my order right every single time, I can’t tell you. And finally, the drooling commences… one view through the counter glass gives sights of noodle kugel, potato knishes and pastries extraordinaire. Yummy!

potato knishesToday I’m focusing on the knish. Essentially, knish are the hand pie of classic Jewish cuisine. The knishes I’m able to purchase are baked, though I understand, sometimes they are fried. They consist of a light pastry dough filled with mashed potatoes, vegetables or meat.

potato knishesThese can be slightly heavy on the carb-scale of food between the pastry and the potatoes, but they are worth every nibble. The recipe I’m sharing today is via the Associated Press.

potato knishes

Potato Knishes

  • Servings: 16
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

3 eggs (divided use)
6 Tablespoons canola oil (divided use)
1/2 cup warm water
1 Tablespoon cider vinegar
Kosher salt
2 cups AP flour
4 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 cup onions, diced
1/4 cup fresh thyme, chopped
Ground black pepper

In a large bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, 2 tablespoons of the oil, the water, vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the flour and knead together to form a smooth dough.

Divide the dough in two and wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

While the dough chills, prepare the filling.

Place the potatoes in a medium saucepan and fill with enough water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Drain thoroughly, then transfer the potatoes to a medium bowl. Mash the potatoes until mostly smooth. Set aside.

Heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until and starting to brown, about 8 minutes. Stir the onions into the potatoes, along with the thyme. Season well with salt and pepper.

Heat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with kitchen parchment.

Working with one piece of dough at a time, roll and stretch each piece until it is a long strip about 6 inches wide and 16 inches long. Spoon half of the potato filling mixture down the middle of each strip of dough, using your hands to smooth the mixture into an even mound.

Dip your finger tips in water and moisten the edges of the dough, then wrap both sides of the dough up and over the potato filling. Seal side of dough with fingers (the ends are left open).

Slice each piece of dough, which now should resemble filled tubes, into 8 pieces. Turn each piece onto its side and use the palm of your hand to flatten slightly. Working in batches of 8, arrange the pieces on the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch between them.

In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of water until foamy. Brush a bit of the egg mixture over each knish. Bake for 30 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Mounding the filling on dough

Mounding the filling on dough

Filled dough, rolled into a tube

Filled dough, rolled into a tube

Tubes cut in 8 pieces (prior to flattening)

Tubes cut in 8 pieces (prior to flattening)

Cut pieces flattened for baking

Cut pieces flattened for baking


Tray of 8 ready for the oven

Tray of 8 ready for the oven


    • Thanks, Judi! Ahhh… Zingerman’s! I haven’t been there in about 5 years. I love their shop of oils and condiments and stuff just as much as the deli. And the breads, too! So good!

    • Knish, are essentially, a very simple food, using very few ingredients. You can use any seasonings you like to put your own spin on them. I imagine, with your food knowledge, you could make them into a delicacy! Thanks, so much, Linda! 😀

    • Ohhh, you really must try one… at least once, Fae. No authentic deli… no problem. Even my “regular” grocery store sells knishes frozen, in the Kosher department of frozen foods. I’m sure you can find them at Whole Foods too.

    • Thank you, Chitra. 🙂 I’m a big fan of hand pies in general. Most seem to utilize a pastry dough for the exterior. The bread like exterior of this one sets it apart from the rest!

  1. This looks fabulous, potatoes and dough, such a surprising combination for the French, and yet so common in other cultures. I’ve never had knishes, I’d be really curious to try these (and I loved your description of the deli).

    • Thanks, Darya… yes, bread and potatoes (together) can be somewhat indulgent… yet so comforting too… which makes these knishes are the perfect cold weather food.

  2. I confess: I”ve never had a knish. Oh, I’ve had plenty of opportunities but never took advantage and now it’s too late. Nearby was a great delii/restaurant and I went there frequently. My first time, though, I had a Ruben sandwich and that was it for me. I never ordered anything else, save an occasional bowl of cabbage soup. Looking at your knishes, I see now that I made a mistake — a very big mistake. They look so very good, Nancy. I need to find me another deli. 🙂

    • I do the same thing, John. I tend to get in a “rut” and order the same thing, visit after visit, at certain restaurants. After all, it tends to be a craving of sorts for THAT meal when I do get the chance to return. No fear… there’s still time for sampling a knish… if you can seek one out! 😉 Thanks, John.

  3. I just love a good knish, frequented Yona Schimmel’s in the Lower East Side of NYC, the best knish around, never even thought of making them myself. Must say Nancy, your Knish look as good as Yona’s and thats saying something. True comfort food.

    • Ahhh… there’s nothing like the food in a good NYC deli! This was my first attempt at making homemade knish. All I needed were all of the other delicious, deli aromas in my kitchen to truly authenticate them! Being they were so simple to make, I’ll prepare them again…but get a bit more adventurous with the filling. Thank you so much, Suzanne! 🙂

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