Thursday, September 27, 2012

Kreplach & Knishes...the tradition continues...

Kreplach & Yom Kippur
Chicken Soup
The tradition continues...
My Dad (Z”L1) always made the kreplach for Yom Kippur.  Under my Mother’s (KIH2) watchful eye he would make the kreplach using my Bubbies’ recipe with the precision of an engineer.   We always laughed that he actually measured the kreplach dough squares with a ruler to ensure that each one was exactly the same as all the rest…we had the only ”six sigma” quality kreplach anywhere.  My Parents had a medieval looking grinder that belonged to my Grandmother (Z”L), that they would attach with the grinder’s clamps to a folding chair.  My Dad would brown onions until they were crispy on the edges (my Mom says they have the most flavor that way) and would grind them with the tender roasted Chuck to make the kreplach filling.  While I was able to “observe” the process when I was younger and still living at home, in recent years when I would try to come over to make the kreplach with my Dad somehow they were always done by the time I got there.  We think that my Dad would actually get up before minyan3 to make them and was done making them before 6:45 AM! 

This year I intended to carry on my Dad’s tradition of making the kreplach.  As hard as it would be to make them instead of my Dad, I had hoped to make them with my Mom, using my Bubbies’ recipe. Sadly, Mom’s in the hospital again and I ended up making them myself.  Sigh.  Before making them I asked my Mom for the recipe – I wanted to make sure that I was doing it right.  I knew where the grinder was and had permission from Mom to use it, and she told me that I had almost remembered the recipe correctly…I was missing the ginger.  I roasted the Chuck Roast with lots of onions and spices a few days in advance and when I was ready to make the kreplach the morning of Erev Yom Kippur, it was nice and chilled.  I made the kreplach dough in the food processor, and realized afterwards that if I really wanted to have made them the traditional way I should have made the dough by hand, oh well…I guess I blended “old school” with “new school”.  I let the kreplach dough rest while making the filling.  I hand diced two large onions (“old school”) and browned them in some olive oil.  I was almost about to pull out a folding chair to hook the grinder to, when I realized that there was a spot on my island that would work, and I clamped the grinder to my island.  I covered the Island with plastic wrap, then took around a pound and a half of the Chuck and cut it into large chunks that would fit into the grinder.  Slowly and carefully, I put some meat and onions into the grinder, turned the crank, and watched in awe as the kreplach filling came out of the grinder.  It was a beautiful thing.  I added a little bit of ground ginger as per Mom’s instructions and the filling was ready to go.  Sigh.  In Dad’s honor I pulled out my cutting board that has a ruler imprinted on it, and carefully rolled the dough until it was “kreplach thin”.  I even pulled out a traditional ruler, and proceeded to painstakingly measure each kreplach square.  In my Dad’s defense, it occurred to me that if you really want to make sure that all the kreplach are the same size, there really is no other way to do it!  (Maybe that’s the engineer in me!!).  I filled and sealed the kreplach and cooked them in a pot of boiling water.  I was pretty psyched.  I had done it!!  Sigh.  The only problem was that I had a lot of filling left over.  In my zealousness to make the filling (and with the fun of using the nifty grinder) I made too much filling.  I covered the rest of the filling with plastic wrap and stuck it in the fridge.  I figured I could do something with it later.

I was anxious and nervous as I brought my Mom some of my Yom Tov chicken soup and kreplach later that morning.  Did I honor my Dad’s memory, or were my kreplach a bust?  I held my breath as my Mom slowly ate the hot chicken soup and bites of fresh kreplach.  Tears rolled down my face as her eyes lit up and she exclaimed “These are really good!”  Baruch Hashem4!!  I then confessed to my Mom that in my enthusiasm I had made too much filling.  “Oh, that happened to us all the time!” she confided.  “My mother used to make knishes out of the rest of the filling!”  Fantastic!!  I now had a plan.  I went home, grabbed a knish dough recipe off the internet, and proceeded to make two dozen meat filed knishes for our pre-Yom Kippur seudah5.  Every year we always had the pre-Yom Kippur seudah at my parents’ house.  Although we had convinced them to come to us for nearly every other Shabbat and Yom Tov meal, Yom Kippur belonged to my parents.  Sadly, this year we had the seudah with my immediate family at home.  I was determined to uphold my parent’s traditions even though things had changed.  It was a huge comfort to have the kreplach and knishes that my Bubbie, Dad and Mom used to make.  Sigh.

Mom’s still in the hospital, and this morning I brought her some of the knishes that I had made.  “Just like your Bubbies, she would have been proud!” she kvelled.  I was glad.

We miss you Dad.

May you all have a Happy and Healthy New Year.

  1. Z”L:  Zichrono Livracha – May his memory be a blessing
  2. KIH: Kein Iyna Hara – Yiddish for without an evil eye.
  3. Minyan: Services in the synagogue
  4. Baruch Hashem:  Thank G-d
  5. Seuda: A “ritual” meal

For both Kreplach & Knishes:
Note: I roasted the Chuck covered, covered with sliced onions, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika.  Rule of thumb is 15 minutes per pound at 350° F.
  • 1 ½ pounds cooked Chuck Roast, cooled and cut into large cubes
  • 2 large onions, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon ground dried ginger
Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add the onions and cook over medium-high heat until onions are browned.  Set aside to cool.

Using a grinder of your choice, grind together the meat and onions.  Stir in the ginger until well combined. 

Egg Wash
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten

Kreplach (makes around 40 2” Kreplach)
I think that Dad used to make them 3”, I kind of like them smaller though.
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons water

Carefully mix the dough ingredients together to form a smooth dough.  Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes before rolling.

Roll the dough as thin as possible.  You can even use a pasta roller to thinly roll out the dough.  Measure the dough and cut out 2” squares.  Place a little bit of the filling into the center of the square.  Brush the edges of the dough with egg wash and pinch to seal.

Bring a large pot of water, a tablespoon of salt, and a tablespoon of olive oil to a boil.  Add the kreplach and boil for 20 minutes.  Serve hot with your favorite chicken or beef soup.

Knishes (makes 24 knishes)
Based upon the knish dough recipe by
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoons baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons pareve margarine
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon warm water
  • Non-stick vegetable spray

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cover two baking sheets with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick vegetable spray.  Set aside.
Combine ingredients in a large bowl.  Knead until smooth.  Divide the dough into 3 even balls.  For each dough ball, roll the dough into a long 8” log.  Cut the dough evenly into 8 1” pieces.  Roll each piece of dough into a 3”- 3 1/2” round.  Place a scoop of meat filling into the middle of the dough. Bring the edges of the dough to the middle over the meat and pinch to seal.  Repeat with remaining dough.  Place 12 knishes on each baking sheet.  Bake for 35 minutes until golden brown.

For the Kreplach:
"New School"...
Put the kreplach dough ingredients
in the food processor...
 Smooth kreplach dough...
 Let it rest on the board while 
you make the filling...
 Big onions, olive oil
and a really, really sharp knife!
 "Old-school" hand diced onions...
no Hindy Chopper for this recipe!
 Crispy Brown Onions!
 You can almost taste the flavor 
these onions are packing!
 This meat is gorgeous!!
(and I even had some left over to
slice for the seuda! Bonus!!)
 It fit perfectly onto the island...whew!
 Ground meat and onions...
it's a beautiful thing!!!  Sigh. I made a little mess on the floor...
 Add the ginger and we're ready to go!
 (Check out the ruler on the pastry board)
 This dough is ready to roll!
 A close up of the ruler...
we take our measuring very seriously!!
 Thinly roll out the dough...
 Check out the ruler!!
Cut the dough into precise squares... 
 Put a small amount of meat
in the middle of the dough with 
egg wash.
 Pinch the kreplach to seal.
 40 beautiful kreplach!
Dad would be proud!!

Cut each dough ball into 8 pieces...
 Roll the dough into a circle...
 Scoop the meat into the center of the knish...
 Pinch the knish to seal...
 Evenly place the knishes on the baking sheet.
 Brush them with egg wash...
 All golden brown!
Bubbie would have been proud!

Kosher Everyday is dedicated to the memory of my father
Dr. Theodore Saltzberg - Tuvia Ben Nachum Z”L
May his memory be for a blessing - Yihi zichro baruch.

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at,, Mishpacha Magazine’s Kosher Inspired Magazine,
The Chicago Tribune Syndication,
 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!

KosherEveryday is one of the finalists for the 
2011 CBS Most Valuable Blogger Awards!! 

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Rosh Hashanah Recipes - A review of Paula Shoyer's "The Kosher Baker" and Showfy & Blowfy

My upside-down version
of Paula Shoyer's Honey Cake
with Pecan Swirls
(Powdered Sugar to be added
on Rosh Hashana!)
I have often written about how I have found meaning in the Jewish books I read to my kids when they were small.  We specifically looked for books that had a lesson about important Middot (character traits) or holiday customs.  An added bonus was that the lessons that we were trying to teach our kids were reinforced to us through the books as well.  When Rosh Chodesh Elul1 came around and we began to blow the shofar at the end of davening every morning, I was reminded of my all-time favorite Rosh Hashanah book “Showfy and Blowfy” by Malka Danzinger.  Even though my girls are already “big” I still pulled out this book this week and read it to them while they were getting ready for school one morning.  Without spoiling the whole plot of the book, Showfy and Blowfy are two shofars that are blown on Rosh Hashanah.  When one is blown, the congregation not only hears the shofar sounds, but they also hear “Hashem2 is King, Hashem is King, Hashem is King over heaven and earth.”  When the second shofar is blown the next day the congregation not only hears those shofar sounds, but also hears “Time to do Teshuvah3, Time to do Teshuvah, Time to do Teshuvah, time to say I’m sorry and I’ll be good.”  How powerful is that?  I actually now think those things when I hear the shofar sounds.  Those are the real messages of the shofar.  Although we are thinking about all the things we need to do, and all the food we need to prepare for Rosh Hashanah, this simple children’s book helps us to think about the true meaning of the holiday. 

We love Showfy & Blowfy!!
But “real life” happens and we do need to think about the preparations, and guests (all 50 gajillion of them), and all the things that “real life” encompasses.  Did you ever reach the point when you just can’t do one more thing?  Not one more thing!!! You are on complete overload and putting one more thing on your plate will just push you over the edge?  Right over the edge.  Juggling so many things that you’re afraid that one of the balls you have flying in the air will come crashing down and hit you in the head???!!!   Yup.  That’s me.  Passed that point a while ago.  That’s when survival mode kicks in.  Ok kids, you want chips, cupcakes and Pirate Booty for lunch…no problem – can you please just add a fruit to it so I don’t get called from the school? Oh, and we need to replace our toaster oven that shorted out so the kids can have frozen pizza slices for dinner (BTW – we did pay 53¢ for the new toaster oven…I may be overloaded but I’m still a great shopper!).  Things are always a little crazy around here, but we’ve just reached a whole new level of insanity!!!  When we left my mom (KIH4) in the hospital last night at 3:30 AM after an emergency trip, we were amazed that things have actually got more challenging! We weren’t sure that was even possible…but it was!  My consolation is that hopefully this wild roller coaster ride is temporary, and that life will revert to “normal” crazy at some point.  So, when life gets really crazy you call for backup right?  Hopefully, I help you a little when your life is crazy with the recipes and fun anecdotes…but for now I’m calling for backup.  HELP!!

This Upside-Down Apple Cake
is just right!
In the world of a food writer, freelance pastry chef and super busy Mom/Daughter, backup comes in the form of a really great baking cookbook.   One of the huge perks of being a food writer is that I have the privilege of getting advance copies of the latest and greatest kosher cookbooks to review.  Last week I got an awesome one, “The Kosher Baker” by Paula Shoyer.  Thanks Paula!! She really is a baking expert, and the book tells us about her interesting background and experiences.  It’s packed with great baking recipes, from the simplest one-bowl variety to those for the more ambitious.  Fabulous cookie, biscotti & bar cookies – all in one bowl!  There are great pictures that show how to make more complicated recipes step by step.  Even the more complex recipes are presented in a way that makes them approachable.  It’s my life preserver - right in the beginning of the book were three recipes I immediately wanted to make this week (and I didn’t have to come up with them myself either- whew)!!  How great is that?!  Reviewing the rest of the book didn’t disappoint either.  I wanted to make nearly every recipe – and as a freelance pastry chef that’s a big deal!  Many of the recipes have instruction about preparing in advance and freezing (like the fabulous Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cakes – YUM!), which is incredibly helpful especially when cooking for Yom Tov.  You can actually make the dessert in advance.  Now, last Shabbat, with 20 minutes before I had to go upstairs, shower and get ready for Shabbat , I grabbed “The Kosher Baker” and whipped up two of the three “one bowl” recipes I had planned to make.  I made the Honey Cake with Pecan Swirls and the Apple Upside-Down Cake in no time at all.  In my rush I didn’t realize that the Honey cake was supposed to go into a loaf pan (it’s got a gorgeous crumb topping) and did it in a bundt pan instead – but you know what?  It came out great!!  And pretty too!!  The crumbs created a pretty decorative border layer on the bottom of the cake (phew!).  I followed the directions for the Apple Upside-Down Cake and layered the apples in three rows as specified.  I think I needed to make the apples a little thicker though, sadly most of them got lost in the batter, but the cake was impressive anyway.  The Honey and Apple cakes are perfect for Rosh Hashanah dessert - I’m freezing both the cakes and will be serving them to my Rosh Hashanah guests. I’m sure the cakes will get rave reviews.  It was all I could do the keep the ravenous hoard from digging into them.  I’m saving the powdered sugar toppings for when I serve them on Rosh Hashanah.

And now I have to get back to life….Time to do Teshuvah….

Here are some more of my Rosh Hashanah recipes/articles.  Have a Happy & Healthy New Year!!

  1. Rosh Chodesh Elul: The beginning of the Hebrew month of Elul, the month before Rosh Hashanah.
  2. Hashem: G-d
  3. Teshuva: Repentance for sins.
  4. KIH: Kein Iyna Hara – Yiddish for without an evil eye.
Paula Shoyer is a pastry chef who owns and operates Paula’s Parisian Pastries Cooking School in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She received her pastry diploma from the Ritz Escoffier Ecole de Gastronomie Francaise in Paris, France in 1996. She is the author of The Kosher Baker: 160 dairy-free desserts from traditional to trendy (Brandeis University Press, August 2010) She is the editor of two popular Kosher cookbooks: Kosher by Design Entertains and Kosher by Design Kids in the Kitchen. You can find her blog at

You can find “The Kosher Baker” on

Honey Cake with Pecan Swirls – by Paula Shoyer
Serves 16
STORAGE: Store covered in plastic at room temperature for up to five days or freeze wrapped in plastic for up to three months.

  • Spray oil containing flour or spray oil plus 2 tablespoons flour for greasing and flouring pan
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • ½ plus 1/3 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 cup brewed espresso or very strong coffee (or 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules dissolved in 2/3 cup boiling water)
  • ¾ cup honey
  • ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Grease and flour a 12-inch loaf pan.

Place the pecan halves in a bag and crush them with a rolling pin until the largest pieces are between ¼ and ½-inch long.  Add the ½ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon cinnamon to the bag and shake to combine.

In a large bowl, whisk together the coffee and honey.  Add the oil, 1/3 cup of the white sugar, the brown sugar, and eggs and whisk well.  Add the flour, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, baking powder, and baking soda and beat with a stand or hand-help electric mixer on medium speed for 2 minutes, or mix vigorously by hand until you have smooth batter.

Scoop up 1 cup of the batter and pour into the pan.  Tilt the pan in a circle so the batter covers the entire bottom.  Sprinkle on 1/3 cup of the nut mixture, covering the entire batter.  Repeat with another cup of batter and 1/3 cup of the nut mixture.  Repeat again.  Pour the remaining batter on top and spread gently to cover the nuts. 

Bake for 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.  Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a rack to continue cooling.  This cake is good either warm or at room temperature.

Apple Upside-Down Cake – by Paula Shoyer
Serves 15-20
STORAGE: Store covered in plastic at room temperature for up to four days or freeze wrapped in plastic for up to three months.

  • Spray oil, for greasing pan
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar, divided
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 apples (McIntosh, Gala, Fuji, Golden Delicious)
  • 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Grease a 9x13-inch pan with spray oil.

In a small bowl, mix the cinnamon with 3 tablespoons of the sugar.  Sprinkle on the bottom of the prepared pan. 

In a large bowl,  beat the flour, remaining 2 cups of sugar, eggs, oil, and vanilla with a stand or hand-held electric mixer on medium-high speed or by hand until well mixed.  Peel and core the apples, halve them and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices.  Place the slices on top of the cinnamon and sugar in the pan in 3 long rows of overlapping slices.  Pour the batter over the apples and spread evenly.

Bake for 1 hour, or until the top is browned and a skewer inserted comes out clean.  Let cool for 30 minutes and then turn over onto a large serving platter or tray.  Serve at room temperature.  Just before serving, sift the confectioners’ sugar over the top.  The sugar will seep into the apples and heighten the taste.

Chocolate Chip Mandelbread – by Paula Shoyer
Makes about 30 cookies
STORAGE: Place in an airtight container or freezer bags and store at room temperature for up to five days or freeze up to three months.

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Dash of salt
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • 3 large eggs
  • ½ cup canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 10 ounces parve semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350° F.  Line a jelly roll pan or large cookie sheet with parchment.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder salt, orange juice, eggs, oil, and vanilla until it forms a dough.  Add the chocolate chips and mix again to evenly distribute the chips.

Divide the dough in half and shape each half into a log about 10 to 12 inches long by 3 to 5 inches wide.  Flatten each loaf slightly.  Place the 2 loaves on the prepared pan, about 5 inches apart.

For the Honey Cake with Pecan Swirls
Measure the honey and other ingredients...
Combine the nuts & sugar in a bag....
and shake it up!!
Mix the ingredients in one bowl!!
Layer the sugar & nuts with the batter....
It's done!!!
Gorgeous, moist, delicious...
and super-fast to make!!
Thanks Paula!!

For the Apple Upside-Down Cake
 Combine the sugar & cinnamon....
Distribute it in the pan...
Mix the ingredients in one bowl!!
Line up the apples then cover them 
with the batter...
Pop it in the oven then...
it's Apple Upside-Down Cake!!

Kosher Everyday is dedicated to the memory of my father
Dr. Theodore Saltzberg - Tuvia Ben Nachum Z”L
May his memory be for a blessing - Yihi zichro baruch.

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at,, Mishpacha Magazine’s Kosher Inspired Magazine,
The Chicago Tribune Syndication,
 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!

KosherEveryday is one of the finalists for the 
2011 CBS Most Valuable Blogger Awards!!