Drop Down MenusCSS Drop Down MenuPure CSS Dropdown Menu

Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Posted by Bryna Bear aka Gluten Free Baking Bear

     I have not had a knish in years.  After thinking about them endlessly and after countless hours of severe cravings I finally got around to making them.  Some of you may not even know what a knish is so I will begin with a description.  Knishes are savory baked or fried dough pastries with various fillings.  Potatoes are the most popular filling, but sweet potatoes, kasha, cheese and chopped meat are also typically found inside.  In New York City you can buy square fried potato knishes from vending carts and round baked potato knishes in many delis. Often they are eaten as a snack.  My grandmother used to serve them as a side dish with dinner.  Miniature sized ones are popular appetizers. Store bought ones are good as far as I can remember, but nothing compares to homemade ones. 
     To my surprise and dismay I could not find my old knish recipe in my recipe box. Oy vey!  I had to surf the internet to find a photo of a knish with dough that looked like what I used to like to eat.  I found two recipes with dough that looked like my old recipe, one from Shiksa in the Kitchen’s blog and one from Joe Pastry’s blog.  I ended up making a hybrid of the two wheat recipes into a gluten free one.  
     The traditional method of rolling the dough and the filling to form a log and then cutting or twisting it into pieces does not work with gluten free dough (I gave it a good try though).  GF dough is not stretchy enough and you end up covering the filling on two sides with dough patches.  I found it easiest to just cut out squares of dough, scoop some filling on top of each piece of dough, wrap the dough up around the filling and then pinch the ends of the dough to seal it closed.
     This time I made potato and sweet potato knishes.  My grandmother used to make some that had a ball of kasha surrounded by potato filling.  Many people fill the entire knish with kasha.  Another time I will make some kasha knishes.  
     I was very pleased with the dough.  It was as good as any I used to make.  The moistness of the gf dough made it trickier to shape, but once it was baked the finished product was just like its wheat counterpart, but not as dry (this is a very good thing).

Makes about 18 round medium sized knishes.
 (4-inches in diameter x 2-inches thick)

1 cup Sweet Rice Flour
1 cup Tapioca Flour
6 Tbs. Corn Starch
2 Tbs. Chickpea Flour
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1 1/2 tsp.  Baking Powder
1 tsp. Xanthan Gum
1/2 cup Oil
3 large Eggs
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar
6 Tbs. Water

You will also need 1-2 egg yolks to brush the tops of the knishes before baking.
(I save the egg whites in the freezer and use them later to bake angel food cakes.)


1 1/2 pounds Russet Potatoes, peeled
To make Sweet Potato Knishes use and 1 1/2 pounds of Sweet Potatoes or Yams instead of russet potatoes - oven roast them and then remove the skin. 
2 Tbs. Olive Oil
1-2 large Onions, diced small
1 large Egg
To taste Salt and Pepper (I used 1/2 tsp. Sea Salt and 1/4 tsp. Pepper.)

  1. First prepare the dough.  In a large bowl mix the dry ingredients (flours, corn starch, xanthan gum, salt & baking powder) together until well blended.
  2.   In a small bowl mix the wet ingredients together (water, oil, eggs & apple cider vinegar).
  3.   Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in all the wet ingredients.
    Wet and dry ingredients before being mixed together.
  4.   Mix together with a spatula, then knead it until smooth.
    Dough ball resting.
  5.   Divide the dough into three equal parts and form each piece into a ball.  Place on a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest at room temperature for an hour.
  6.   Prepare the potato filling while the dough is resting.
  7.   Cut the peeled potatoes into large chunks.  Place in a steamer basket in a medium or large pot.  The steamer basket should be over a pot filled with about 1-1 1/2 inches of water.  Place the cut potatoes into the steamer basket and tightly cover the pot.  Bring the water to a boil over high heat then reduce to a medium heat and cook covered until the potatoes are fork tender (about 20-30 minutes).
    Raw potato chunks in a steamer over hot water.
  8.   While the potatoes are cooking brown the onions.  In a frying pan sauté the diced onions in the olive oil over medium-high heat until nicely browned.  Stir frequently until done.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    Browned onions.
  9.   When the potatoes are done, drain the water and empty the potatoes from the steamer basket into the pot. Mash the cooked potatoes until smooth.
    Filling all done.
  10.   Add the cooked onions and mix well.  Add the egg.  Add and adjust the salt and pepper to taste.
  11.   Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare two baking sheets by lining them with silpat pads, parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  12.   Place a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap on the counter.  Flour the dough ball and the wax paper or plastic wrap with corn starch or tapioca flour. 
  13.   Flatten the dough ball gently into a rectangle with your hands and then cover it with another piece of plastic wrap or wax paper.  Using a rolling pin roll out the dough into a rectangle that is 12-inches long by x 10-inches wide. 
    Dough ball flattened by hand in to a rough rectangle
     and covered with a piece of plastic wrap,
  14.   Cut the rectangle of dough in half lengthwise and then each half into 3 equal pieces.  
  15.   Place a scoop of potato mixture into the center of one piece of dough. 
    Rolling the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap.

    These are for mini knishes, the dough is cut into squares
    and a scoop of potato mixture is put on the square.

    Folding the dough around the potato using the plastic wrap
    to keep the dough from sticking to your fingers.
  16.   Using the plastic wrap or wax paper to help bring the dough up around the sides and top of the potato mixture.  Pinch the ends together to seal the dough at the top.
    Knish dough brought up the side and over the top of the filling.
    Then the dough is pinched to close it well.
  17.   Turn the knish over as you place it on the prepared baking sheet.  Gently place your hands around the edges of the knish and shape it into a nice round knish by turning it as you very gently press in the sides.  
    Knish turned over so that the pinched seams are on the bottom.
  18.   Repeat the process of wrapping the dough around the filling, placing it on the baking sheet and making it round with your hands until all 6 knishes are formed.  
    Knishes formed into rounds (they do not have to be perfect)
    with egg yolks brushed on the top.
  19.   Keep about 2-3 inches of space between each knish.
  20.   Repeat rolling and shaping the knishes with the other two balls of dough.
  21.   Beat an egg yolk and brush the top of each knish with the egg yolk.
  22.   Bake the knishes for 30-40 minutes until the dough is done and the bottom is lightly browned.
    Baked knishes on the baking sheet.
  23.   I like them best when served warm, but they can be eaten at room temperature also.  Knishes store well in the freezer for later use, I placed them in a plastic zip-lock bag.  You can reheat them in the microwave as needed.

These are mini knishes.
The dough is thicker on the bottom with sweet potato knishes since the filling is thinner.

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash, make a slit in each one and then roast the sweet potatoes or yams on a baking pan in the oven until tender.
  3. When the sweet potatoes are done reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.
  4. While the potatoes are roasting prepare the knish dough according to instructions #1-6 above.
  5. Omit step #7.  
  6. Follow step # 8.
  7. Omit step # 9.  Instead scrape the cooked yams or sweet potatoes from their skins and place in a medium sized bowl.  Mash them until smooth.
  8.   Follow the rest of the steps from # 10 to the end.
  9.   The filling was thinner and wetter with the sweet potatoes than with the white potatoes so the dough was a bit thicker on the top and bottom after it baked.  Still tasted great!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please leave a comment. I love to hear what you think about the blog and the recipe.