Creativity is often best when it has constraints. In the case of the current knish crisis, the results are quite tasty.
The nationwide knish shortage caused by a September fire at Gabila's Knishes in Copiague spurred a light bulb moment for Jesse Blonder, owner and co-founder of The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts in Brooklyn.
"We had been hearing about the knish crisis," Blonder, who is managing director of the center, said in a phone interview. "We thought, 'you know we've never made a knish here.'"
And so it was born: The Gabila’s-style potato knish, created by baking instructor Lynn Kutner. It is, Blonder said, "delicious."
"Lynn, she has a very good base of knowledge when it comes to traditional Jewish foods," he said.
Wednesday the center tweeted, "1st responders in NY knish shortage!"
To help us all through this square-knish crisis, Kutner's recipe is below. Find additional recipes at http://www.kosherculinaryarts.com/recipes-more.
GABILA'S-STYLE POTATO KNISH
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1 1/2 teaspoons turmeric (optional)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons tap water
2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 pound Idaho or Russet Potatoes, boiled and mashed
1 large onion, diced and sautéed until golden
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Combine flour, salt and turmeric in a bowl. In another bowl beat eggs with water and oil. Make a well in the center of the flour, pour in egg mixture and work until a nice soft dough forms.
2. Knead for one minute, then wrap in lightly floured plastic wrap. Allow to rest in refrigerator for a minimum of one hour (or longer).
3. Cut the dough in half; refrigerate one half. Roll out other half thin on a lightly floured pastry cloth (or other surface, which will require a bit more flour). Then stretch a bit more with the your hands, being careful not to make holes. The dough is nice and elastic, and stretches easily. Using a paring knife or pizza cutter, cut each half of the dough into 8 strips of equal width. (Each half of the dough makes 8 knishes.)
4. For the filling, the potatoes are mashed with onions that have been sautéed in oil, then salted and peppered. Potato mixture should be on thick side. If you feel that your potatoes are too thick, add a spoonful or 2 of water. This much knish dough takes about 3 cups of mashed potatoes, about 1 1/2 to 1 /3/4 pounds.
5. Fill the strips of dough with cooled potato filling.
- Preheat oven to 350-375 degrees. Brush knishes with egg wash (1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water). Bake knishes on a rack high in the oven.
- Heat 1/4 to 1/3 cup oil in a skillet. When the oil is ready (test by placing the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil; if the oil bubbles around the wooden handle, it is ready). Caution: You will have to adjust the heat, so that the oil doesn’t get too hot.
- Using bone-dry utensils (to avoid dangerous spattering, water should never come in contact with the oil), place a few knishes in the oil at a time. Do not crowd the pan. When the first side is brown, turn carefully, and brown the other side. The knishes take about 1 minute per side.
- Remove, and place on paper towels to drain. Then proceed with the next batch.
Once cool enough to handle, schmear with deli mustard and enjoy. You’ll want for knish no more!
Recipe courtesy of The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts