Knish Dough and Fillings

Make your own knishes and choose from two different fillings.


Reprinted with permission from The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York, published by Knopf.

This is the classic New York pastry, which bakes into a thin crisp crust. We offer two filling recipes, a meat version and a dairy version.


  1. For Meat filling: 2 Tablespoons chopped parsley
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. Salt and pepper
  4. 2 Tablespoons oil
  5. 1/2 lb (250g) lean ground beef
  6. For Dairy Filling: 4 Tablespoons sour cream
  7. 1 egg, lightly beaten
  8. Salt and white pepper
  9. 10 oz (300g) curd or cream cheese (drained)
  10. 4 Tablespoons chopped chives or dill
  11. For Dough: 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  12. Not quite 1 2/3 cups (250g) all‑purpose flour
  13. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  14. 2 eggs
  15. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  16. 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon of water, for glazing


Beat the eggs with the salt, baking powder, and oil. Gradually add the flour–just enough to make a soft dough that is no longer sticky–mixing it in with a fork to begin with, then working it in with your hand.

Knead for about 10 minutes, until very smooth and elastic, sprinkling in a little flour if necessary. Coat with oil by pouring a little into the bowl and turning the dough around in it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave for an hour.

To make the cream cheese filling: Mix all the ingredients together.

To make the meat filling: Fry the onion in the oil until golden. Add the meat and cook, stirring and crushing it with a fork, for about 8 minutes, until it changes color. Season with salt and pepper and stir in parsley. Let it cool before using.

Knead the dough again for a moment and roll out as thin as you can. Cut into rounds 3 inches (7 1/2 cm) in diameter. Because the dough is elastic and springs back, pull it a little to stretch it again. Place 1 Tablespoon of filling in the center of each round, then fold over and pinch the edges together firmly to seal them.

Place on greased baking sheets, brush with the egg yolk, and bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven for 20‑25 minutes, or until golden. Serve hot.

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Claudia Roden is one of England's leading food writers. Her works include the James Beard Award winning The Book of Jewish Food and A Book of Middle Eastern Food.

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