Potato Knish

Ever find yourself with a mountain of potatoes, thinking you can only eat french fries so many times in a week?  I have a nasty habit of buying too many potatoes when they’re on sale since I don’t buy them that often, and then I have to figure out what to do with them.

Usually this means adding them to curries, soups, etc, but when I’ve got russets on my hands, it’s time for a new strategy.  I like that this blog has helped me learn more about the food I eat.  Before this year, I never would have known the difference between a Yukon gold and a russet potato and which dishes I should be using them in.

As many of you probably know, (and for those that don’t, it’s time for some potato knowledge!) a Yukon gold is waxy potato and therefore better for soups and curries because russets tend to fall apart if they’re stewed (because they’re starchy).  That’s why they make great, fluffy mashed potatoes. They also make great french fries, just don’t try boiling them unless you intend to mash afterwards.

And knishes.  They make for great knish filling.  Another little known fact about me, I’m half-Jewish!  But it’s on my dad’s side, so I guess that doesn’t actually count for anything.  Whatever, I can sill make knish.

This was my first attempt, and though it was a little shaky, (I need to work on my knish-shaping skills) the little potato buns turned out way better than I expected.  The dough was flaky, yet soft, and the filling was russet potato fluffiness at its finest.  Plus some caramelized onion.  Need a good vegetarian meal?  Well my friend, grab some (starchy) potatoes because dinner is served.

Potato Knish

Adapted from the ever wonderful Smitten Kitchen

Makes about 8 knish, depending on how large you make them

For the dough:

2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 large egg
½ cup vegetable oil
1 tsp white vinegar

½ cup water

For the filling:
1 ½ lb (about 3 medium) russet potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 small yellow onion, peeled and diced small
1 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
½ tsp salt
Freshly ground black pepper

For the egg wash:

1 large egg yolk

1 tsp water

First make the dough. Stir together your dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, vinegar and water. Pour it over the dry ingredients and stir to combine. Once the mixture is a craggy, uneven mass, knead it until smooth, about a minute. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Set it aside for an hour (or in the fridge, up to 3 days) until needed.

While the dough sits, prepare filling. Put potatoes into a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and cook until potatoes can be pierced easily with a knife, about 20 minutes. Drain, then transfer to a large bowl to cool.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add butter and oil and once they’re fully melted and a bit sizzly, add onions and reduce to medium-low. Cook, stirring frequently, until deeply caramelized, which will take about 45 minutes.  You can always semi-caramelize them if you’re short on time.  Once they’re caramelized to your liking, transfer them to the bowl with potatoes and mash together until almost smooth.  Stir in salt and many grinds of black pepper and set the filling aside.

Next, assemble the knish. Line a large baking sheet (or two smaller ones) with parchment paper or a silicone mat and preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

If your dough has sweated some beads of oil while it rested, fear not, you can just knead it back into an even mass. Divide the dough in half. On a well-floured surface, roll the first half of the dough into a very thin sheet, roughly in the shape of a 1-foot square.  For moderate size knish, create a 2-inch thick log from half your potato filling across the bottom of your dough. Roll the filling up in the dough, but not too tight. A tiny amount of slack will keep the dough from opening in the oven. Keep rolling until the log has been wrapped twice in dough. Trim any unrolled length and add it to the second half of the dough; it can be used again. Repeat the process with the second half of your dough and second half of filling; you might have a small amount of dough leftover.  (Save it for homemade pop-tarts!)

Trim the ends of the dough so that they’re even with the potato filling. Then, make indentations on the log every 3 to 3 1/2 inches (you’ll have about 3, if your log was 1 foot long) and twist the dough at these points, as if you were making sausage links. Snip the dough at each twist, then pinch one of the ends of each segment together to form a sealed knish base. Use the palm of your hand to flatten the knish a bit into a squat shape and from here, you can take one of two approaches to the top: You can pinch together the tops as you did the bottom to seal them; indenting them with a small dimple will help keep them from opening in the oven. You can gently press the dough over the filling but leave it mostly open.  I like being able to see the filling.

Arrange the knish on the prepared baking sheet(s) so that they don’t touch. Whisk the egg yolk and water together to form a glaze and brush it over the knish dough. Bake knish for about 45 minutes, rotating your tray if needed for them to bake into an even golden brown color.  Let the knishes cool for at least 15 minutes.  That potato filling stays hot for a while and you don’t want to burn your tongue.  Serve with your desired condiment (sour cream, mustard, ah hem…ketchup, whatever floats your knish.)


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