Serious Eats

Mile End's Knishes

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Knishes [Photograph: Quentin Bacon]

More than just a fun-to-say word, knishes are emblematic of Jewish deli snacks. Their hearty nature and portable shape make for an easy, if heavy, snack on the go. The version from Mile End Deli is a different shape than most: rolled into a log instead of a dumpling. Perhaps this shape owes debt to Noah Bernamoff's Nana Lee, who apparently made "legendary" knishes with a good structural sense. When loading a dumpling with all matter of starch (as is the case with many knishes), the extra dough required to shape a ball can make for a leaden dish, but not here.

In The Mile End Cookbook, the Bernamoffs suggest rolling thin layers of dough around the filling, transforming the knish into light(-er) fare.

Why I picked this recipe: Most of my knish experiences have been store-bought and disappointing. I wanted to try my hand at a homemade version; I wanted to love the knish.

What worked: Although it is a long and complex recipe, each step went off without a hitch.

What didn't: I found it frustrating that the recipe called for a food processor, stand mixer, potato ricer, and pasta machine. Even if you happen to own all four, they create a lot of extra mess and work. The pasta machine was probably the most useful piece of the four, but you could probably make these using a strong arm, a rolling pin, and a good knife.

Suggested Tweaks: The recipe in the book is for a simple potato-based filling, but it's easy to see how the filling can be tweaked to suit any type of leftovers. If you're going for the recipe as written, be sure to season the filling generously before adding the eggs. Potatoes can take it.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of The Mile End Cookbook to give away.

About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer out of Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American and blogs at cookingwolves.wordpress.com.

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