Here’s where I’m at in my life right now: I can’t get enough of potato and cheese and pastry dough wrappers. That might not sound very glamorous, but Molly Yeh made my Savory Jewish Pastry Dreams come true, and now I can’t stop making knishentashen. Earlier in this “10 Days of Hamantashen” series, I was telling you about my Za’atar Feta version of her genius-level knish/hamantashen hybrid– basically Purim will never be the same, and I never want to go back to my old life with no knishentashen.
For this second version, I decided to combine cheddar and jalapeño. I’m not actually sure where that inspiration came from… maybe I had jalapeño poppers on the brain? But no, that’s cream cheese. And really, when do I even eat those? I honestly don’t know and it’s irrelevant at this point because mixing them with potato is delicious and that’s all that matters now.
Start here for the beginning of “10 Days of Hamantashen”!
Cheddar Jalapeño Knishentashen
Adapted from Molly Yeh
Yields 12 servings
For the dough:
- 1 ¾ cups + 2 tablespoons (225g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ cup (50g) extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup (118g) water
For the filling:
- 1½ pounds (680g) russet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, or to taste, plus more for garnish
- 1⅓ cups (150g) coarsely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ½ cup jalapeño peppers, seeds and ribs removed, roughly chopped
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- ¼ cup (25g) finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat an oven to 400°F. Line two rimmed half-sheet pans with parchment paper and set them aside.
To make the dough:
Whisk the flour, sugar, and salt together in a large bowl. Stream in the oil and water and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to come together in a shaggy mass. Transfer it to a lightly-floured work surface and knead for 5-7 minutes, dusting with flour as needed, until the dough has become smooth and slightly tacky, yet with a silky texture; form it into a ball. Leave the dough on the work surface and cover it with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel, letting it rest at room temperature during preparation of the filling. It should become very silky while it rests.
To make the filling:
Place the cubed potatoes with 1 tablespoon kosher salt in a medium pot of water and set it to boil. (The water should cover the potatoes by 1″.) Cook for an additional 15 minutes or so, or until the potatoes are very tender. Drain them into a colander and let them sit for a few minutes until most of the water is gone. Transfer the potatoes back to the pot and add the butter, olive oil, larger quantity of cheddar cheese, and the jalapeños, to the pot, and mash all the ingredients together until mostly smooth. Set aside the filling to cool while you work with the dough.
To assemble the knishentashen:
Re-flour the dough work surface and divide the dough into 12 equal pieces with a bench scraper or sharp knife. Roll each piece into a ball, then roll out or flatten each ball into a 4″ circle; brush the dough rounds with a thin layer of eggwash. Scoop about 1½ tablespoons of the cheesy potato filling onto the center of each piece of dough; I find that a spring-loaded ice cream scoop works great for even, well-shaped scoops.
Carefully fold the edges up and around the filling and firmly pinch the dough together at three points to form a triangle. Transfer the pastries to the prepared sheet pan, spacing them a few inches apart. Brush the outsides of the dough (not the potato) with eggwash and sprinkle each triangle with some of the finely shredded cheese.
Bake until the cheesy tops are golden and the edges of the pastry dough are crisped; begin checking for doneness at 20 minutes (mine cooked for 23), rotating the pan halfway through. They will puff up towards the end of baking and sink down once they leave the oven.
Set the pan on a wire rack to cool a bit, but do enjoy these warm! Leftover knishentashen can be stored in the fridge for a few days in an airtight container and reheated in the oven. (My countertop toaster oven reheated these beautifully at 350°F for about 10 minutes.) They also freeze quite well, for at least several weeks.
© Dafna Adler & Stellina Sweets, 2020.