As 2013 draws to a close, I present my final Breakfast Club pastry of the year: the simple, yet delicious, knish. I first heard about them back in 1999 when I was moving from Virginia to Upstate NY. Fun fact: When you say “I’m moving to NY” almost all people assume it’s NYC. Not the rest of the state (and there’s a lot there). So when I told my friend, who had family in NYC, he waxed poetic about the most amazing knishes he used to get and how he missed them. I had no idea what he was talking about, but somehow it stuck with me, and I’m glad it did.
Now, let’s have a little history about these tasty noshes. According to Wikipedia,
Eastern European immigrants who arrived sometime around 1900 brought knishes to North America. Knish is a Yiddish word that was derived from the Ukrainian or Russian “knysh” meaning dumpling or cake. The first knish bakery in America was founded in New York in 1910. Generally recognized as a food made popular in New York by immigrants in the early 1900s, the United States underwent a knish renaissance in the 2000s driven by knish specialty establishments.
Ok, but what IS a knish? It’s a filling wrapped in a dough that is either baked, deep fried or grilled. The traditional filling usually consists of potatoes, onions, ground meat, cheese, etc. But the beauty of these babies is you can fill them with just about anything. Thanksgiving leftovers? Mix together some turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and a touch of gravy and your golden. Have too many items from the deli and not enough interest in making sandwiches? Use it as a knish filling. It’s amaaaaaazing.
For these knishes I lightly adapted Joe Pastry’s traditional knish dough recipe, then followed his assembly instructions step-by-step (and you should do the same, since the photo tutorial is wonderfully helpful. And Joe Pastry is just kind of amazing).
Now, the one thing I need to change when making these next time (and there will totally be a next time), is that I need to not overfill them. When you do that, they pop open and leak their filling, and I have a fair bit of those (kinda like the one above, though it’s not too bad).
So hop to it! Make some knishes and settle into a wonderful, savory little bit of breakfast.