Pumpkin-Spiced Potato Knish With Homemade Cranberry Sauce | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

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Pumpkin-Spiced Potato Knish With Homemade Cranberry Sauce

The Remix: In honor of Thanksgiving, we tweak the knish.
Pumpkin-Spiced Potato Knish With Homemade Cranberry Sauce

A pumpkin-spiced dough and a homemade cranberry mustard sauce tweak the knish into an off-beat Thanksgiving appetizer. Amy Kritzer/JW

Makes 15-20

30 min

3 hrs

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This is the next installment in our series The Remix, in which we seek to gently rework the more challenging dishes in the Jewish culinary canon. With a little bit of love, we’re convinced we can make any Jewish dish delicious, even ones that seem a bit bizarre to the modern palate.

The late Joan Rivers once proclaimed on Twitter: “Who doesn’t love a knish?” The context was regarding what Kanye and Kim should name their baby, but as it turns out, not everyone does love a knish. There are two types of people in this world. Team Knish, and those other guys. And generally I don’t trust those other guys, but if they’ve only had a bad knish, I get it. Knishes can get stale, dry and more in need of mustard than a (kosher) ballpark hotdog. Knishes are best fresh out of the oven, piping hot. With just a smidge of mustard.

But don’t take my word for it. As luck would have it, I could go straight to the ultimate knish source, Laura Silver, author of “Knish: In Search of the Jewish Soul Food” (Brandeis), published earlier this year. She was in Austin last week on her book tour, and I had the honor of introducing her.

When Silver’s favorite knish shop in Brooklyn, Mrs. Stahl’s, went out of business, she began to research the doughy, starchy pasties. Her quest that took her around the world, connected her to her family and inspired her first book.

The knish, she found, originated in Ukraine; it was often made with pork fat. Eastern European Jews adapted the knish, made it kosher and filled it with the now-traditional potatoes or meat. When they came to America in the late 1800s, the knish came along, and was soon sold in street carts and Jewish delis.

As I was getting my copy of “Knish” signed, I asked Silver the secret to a good knish. She said schmaltz wasn’t the necessary ingredient. But what was?

“Love first. Then as much oil as possible.” A woman after my own heart.

This Thanksgiving version of the knish has a pumpkin-spiced dough that is filled with mashed potatoes and dipped in a cranberry mustard sauce. It’s not traditional, but that may be just what’s needed to start a conversation with those unfortunate knish-haters.

Amy Kritzer is a food writer and recipe developer in Austin, Texas. She blogs at What Jew Wanna Eat.

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For the dough:

1 large egg

½ cup vegetable oil or liquid schmaltz

1 teaspoon white vinegar

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

1 ½ cups flour, sifted (may not need it all)

For the filling:

1 pound russet potatoes

1 small white onion, small diced

¼ cup olive oil or liquid schmaltz, plus 1 tablespoon, divided

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon black pepper

1 egg yolk

For assembly:

2 egg yolks for glaze

For the cranberry Dijon mustard sauce:

1 12-ounce bag fresh cranberries

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

Zest from 1 orange

¾ cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  1. First, make the dough. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, oil and vinegar. Then add in baking powder, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Start adding in flour and kneading until you have a dough that is not sticky but is not falling-apart crumbly. If you add too much flour in, just add a little water. Cover and let rest for at least an hour. Can be refrigerated overnight.
  2. Then make cranberry sauce. In a medium saucepan, combine cranberries, ginger, orange zest, sugar, orange juice and water. Bring to a boil while stirring, and then lower to a simmer. Cook for 15 minutes or until cranberries burst and sauce is very thick. Strain through a mesh sieve into a bowl. You can save cranberry pieces and eat them over oatmeal or yogurt. Stir in Dijon mustard (you can use more or less mustard to taste) and place in the refrigerator to cool and thicken slightly.
  3. Now, time to make the knish filling. Wash and peel potatoes and chop into even sized pieces. Add salt, Cover with cold water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes until potatoes can be easily pierced with a knife. While potatoes are cooking, heat a medium sauté pan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon oil or schmaltz. Saute the diced onions until soft, about 4-5 minutes. Then add garlic and saute for another minute. Once potatoes are done, drain and immediately mix in remaining oil, remaining salt, onion, pepper and egg yolk and mash with a potato mashed until combined.
  4. Now it’s time to assemble! Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. There are many ways to form a knish, but I like to make mini ones. Roll the dough on a lightly floured surface until 1/8 inch thin. Then cut out using a 3-inch round cookie cutter and remove excess dough. Flatten circles with your palm to form 4-inch circles. Put a tablespoon of filling in each circle and fold up four sides and pinch the corners together. Fold edges over to one side and carefully secure to form a ball. Mix 2 egg yolks with a splash of water and brush all over knishes. Bake for 25 minutes or until golden brown, and serve hot with cranberry Dijon mustard sauce.

Amy Kritzer/JW