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.

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  1. Looks so amazing, I didn't know anyone made their own kreplach. Everywhere I eat they're usually store bough, or at the very least the dough is.

    Refuah shelemo for your mom.