May 2, 2012

The Knish: Theater 2500’s Favorite Dish

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One of the perks of being enrolled in Theater 2500 is its 12:20 start time; the beginning few minutes are graciously designated for the seven of us (including the professor) to chow down on whatever we’ve brought. Over blueberry muffins, CTP wraps or even TBP bowls we discuss how we can better our work before launching into the technicalities of design. The other day however, friend and classmate Jennifer Luu ’12 caused a stir, prolonging our “brunch period,” when she brought in homemade knishes. She had already demonstrated her cooking talents when she gave me a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting for my birthday; it literally melted in my mouth, each bite moist, rich and nothing short of the most delicious baked good I’ve ever tasted. So, naturally, when she rolled in with a whole tupperware container full of pastry-looking goodness, we knew we were in for a treat. Although she herself is far from Jewish, her knishes seemed authentic. The delicious, dome-shaped pastry part, flaky on the outside and doughy on the inside, housed a large chunk of potato, some red onion and parsley. Since they’re large, they’re easy to break in half and share with a friend as well.Jenn assured me she didn’t labor long in the kitchen, so here’s a recipe similar to what she used so you can try some tradition at home!

Knish recipe adapted from Jewish Cooking in America; taken from FoodNetwork.comYield: 2 dozen

Ingredients2 cups julienned yellow onions, caramelized4 cups mashed potatoes1 egg1/2 cup finely chopped parsley, plus extra for garnishSalt and black pepper1/2 cup vegetable oil1 cup water1 tablespoon white vinegar1/2 teaspoon salt4 cups flour1/2 cup egg wash

DirectionsPreheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the onions, potatoes, egg, and parsley together. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. For the pastry: In a mixing bowl, combine the oil, water, vinegar, and salt. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time and knead into a ball. Shape into 4 balls and let rest, covered with a cloth, about 30 minutes. Roll each ball of dough out as thin as possible into a flat rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with flour and cover with parchment paper. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Using your hands, spread the dough out very thin. Spread 1/4 of the filling onto one third of the dough, leaving a one inch border. Holding the parchment paper, roll up the dough like a jelly roll, brushing oil across the top a couple of times as you roll. Using the side of your hand like a knife, divided the roll into 2-inch knishes. pinch the open ends shut. Repeat procedure with remaining balls and dough. Place the knishes, flat side down, 2 inches apart, on a greased baking sheet. The knishes will need to be baked in batches. Brush the knishes with the egg wash. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the pastries are golden brown. Place the knishes on a platter and garnish with parsley.

Original Author: Danielle Diniz