How to Make Knishes Two Ways

Meat and dairy versions of this classic savory Jewish pastry.

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.

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


For Meat Filling:

2 Tablespoons chopped parsley

1 onion, chopped

Salt and pepper

2 Tablespoons oil

1/2 lb (250g) lean ground beef

For Dairy Filling:

4 Tablespoons sour cream

1 egg, lightly beaten

Salt and white pepper

10 oz (300g) curd or cream cheese (drained)

4 Tablespoons chopped chives or dill

For Dough: 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Not quite 1 2/3 cups (250g) all‑purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs

1/2 teaspoon salt

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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