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Shared by Eli Charm

Kasha Knishes

Yield: 12 knishesTime: 45 min active + 1 H 40 min inactive

Shared by Eli Charm

Knishes on platter with side of grainy mustard.
Photographer: Armando Rafael. Food Stylist: Christopher Barsch. Prop Stylist: Megan Hedgpeth.

Kasha Knishes

Yield: 12 knishesTime: 45 min active + 1 H 40 min inactive

Family Journey

Monsey, NYBoulder, UT
New York City

“Kasha feels like a secret of mine,” explains Eli Charm “[It] has been integral to my experience and consciousness as a diasporic American Jew.” Growing up as the youngest of seven children in the religious town of Monsey, New York, kasha varnishkes laced with lots of caramelized onions was part of the Shabbat menu almost every week. And their family often picked up kasha knishes — an iconic Ashkenazi baked good that's often filled with potatoes — at a Jewish grocery store.

In their late 20s, Eli moved to a town of just over 200 people in Utah to cook at the acclaimed seasonal restaurant Hell’s Backbone Grill & Farm. While there, “I really missed being surrounded by the Jewish food around New York City,” they say. “I was feeling culturally homesick.” Their parents sent them a package of kasha and from that Eli made kasha varnishkes with fermented mushrooms for a potluck dinner for the team at the restaurant. They also started making their own take on the baked goods they grew up with, like kasha knishes, babka, and bourekas in an earthen oven. 

Today, Eli lives in New York City, where they no longer need to have the buckwheat groats shipped to them. “When I make a Jewish meal, buckwheat is always scattered throughout it in different forms,” Eli says — whether it’s buckwheat blintz skins, the knishes, or something else. 

“There's a phenomenological element to cooking and eating kasha for me; I imagine the shared experience of my ancestors enjoying it just like I do today. It's not a sexy food, but it is a food that connects me to my ancestral past.”

If it’s your first time making knishes, it can take a bit of practice. Follow Eli’s technique for shaping: Once you have your log, crimp it every three inches. Then, twist the log at the crimped parts before cutting and placing them facing up on the baking sheet.  Check out the video tutorial below!


For the Filling:

  • 1 ½ cups dry whole kasha groats (toasted buckwheat)
  • 1 ½ medium yellow onion, diced 
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

For the Pastry Dough:

  • 360g (2 ¾ cups) all-purpose flour
  • 1 (6g) teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) baking powder
  • 1 ½ (7ml) teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 118 ml (½ cup) canola or your preferred neutral oil
  • 118 ml (½ cup) tepid water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten for egg wash
Baking ProjectsSidesDairyNorth America


  • Step 1

    Prepare the dough: Mix your liquids (water, oil, egg, vinegar) together in the bowl of your stand mixer or large mixing bowl if doing it by hand. Once mixed, add your dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt). Mix on low with your dough hook until dry ingredients are incorporated and scrape down the sides. Go up to speed two and let mix for 10-12 minutes. The dough should be silky and soft but not particularly sticky—if it is, add another tablespoon or two of flour. If you’re mixing by hand, you can use the slap and fold technique or whatever kneading technique you prefer. It will take about 15 minutes of kneading to develop a smooth dough. Once your dough passes the windowpane test, wrap in plastic and let rest for an hour before using.

  • Step 2

    In a medium sized pot, bring 1 ½ cups water, 1 tablespoon oil and ¾ teaspoon salt to a boil. Cook 1.5 cups of kasha groats, simmering and covered for about 10 minutes until there is no more water. Leave the pot covered until it has fully cooled down. Set aside.

  • Step 3

    Place the potatoes in a medium sized pot with 1 teaspoon of salt, cover with water by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 15-20 minutes, until the potatoes are fork tender. Mash once cool enough to handle.

  • Step 4

    In a sauté pan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Slowly braise the diced onion on medium low to soften but not brown, about 15 minutes. Add 2-3 tablespoons butter and 1 teaspoon salt to the mix and mash with a potato masher. Add several grinds of cracked black pepper. Taste for salt and adjust to your liking. Let cool in the fridge before shaping the knishes.

  • Step 5

    In a large bowl, combine the mashed potato, kasha and onions with 2 tablespoons butter, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Cover and set in the fridge until needed.

  • Step 6

    Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

  • Step 7

    Roll out the dough: Dust your clean work surface with flour. Split your dough in half, re-wrap one half and set aside until needed. Pat the dough flat into a rough rectangular shape and roll out with a rolling pin until thin and even (about 20” wide and 10” high).

  • Step 8

    Prepare the knish: Set about half of the kasha filling into a thick line about 1 inch from the bottom wide border. Brush the other long end of the dough with egg wash. Keep it neat and press it into a snake along the bottom edge. Beginning with the bottom of your pastry, roll the dough upwards, neatening as you go– you should be able to go around your filling twice. Don’t roll it too tight or it will make the shaping of the individual knishes difficult.

  • Step 9

    Shape the Knishes: Seal and trim the ends of the roll. Make a mark at each 3” interval— you should have 6 knishes with each half of the dough. Using the side of your hand, flatten/press dough at each interval. Working one at a time, at each mark twist the dough one full rotation and then cut. Seal one end completely by pressing dough together. Stand the knish up on the sheet tray with the bottom side down and press lightly but with intent until about 1.5” high. Continue with the rest of the log and then your second piece of dough.

  • Step 10

    Brush each knish with egg wash and sprinkle with flaky salt. Bake for about 35-40 minutes until golden, rotating at the 20 minute mark. Serve with mustard and enjoy!