Sweet Cheese Kreplach With Jam

September 12, 2022
0 Ratings
Photo by MJ Kroeger
  • Prep time 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Cook time 30 minutes
  • makes 12
Author Notes

When considering a dessert menu for the High Holidays, thinking outside the apple and honey cake box affords bakers sweet options. Figs, pomegranates, dates, and date honey are considered sacred within the Jewish faith and are ripe with significance.

Often dubbed “the land of milk and honey,” the ancient Israelites worked (as quoted in Deuteronomy 8:7-8) “a land of wheat and barley, of vines, figs, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and date honey.” And though apples are intrinsically linked to Rosh Hashanah, the soil and climate of ancient Israel were unsuitable for sweet apples. For some Jews, the tart pomegranate is traditional for Rosh Hashanah, echoing the belief that the leathery skin of the pomegranate may have been the “tapuach” or apple, of the garden of Eden. One of the world’s oldest cultivated fruits, pomegranate means grained apple. Additionally, food historians believe that the honey referred to in the Torah’s description of Israel as “the land of milk and honey” was actually date, not bee honey.

The offerings piled high on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur dessert tables are typically symbolic of a sweet new year. Break-the-fast is traditionally a dairy-centric meal, a celebration of renewal, featuring dishes generous with cheese, cream, butter, and other milk-based products—think kugels, blintzes, and cheesecakes. My paternal grandmother, Minnie, was a fervent believer in the power of dairy, particularly desserts featuring farmer cheese and pot cheese. Denser, drier versions of cottage cheese, farmer, and pot cheese played a starring role in Minnie’s recipe file, a weathered green box filled with index cards penned in her comfortable blue scrawl.

Pudgy, cheese-filled blintzes were a common Yom Kippur dessert offering in our household, but Minnie also had a recipe for triangular kreplach, filled with a similar farmer cheese mixture. Don’t mistake these for the boiled, dumpling or ravioli-like kreplach; this recipe is baked, and more of a pastry in makeup. A thin layer of good quality fig or pomegranate jam adds a touch of sweetness to the traditional cheese filling, while also giving a nod to the symbolism of the seeded “first” fruits, so named to reflect produce that hasn’t been tasted since the start of the season. The multi-seeded fruits symbolize abundance, fertility and wisdom. Serve with additional jam and your favorite yogurt for breakfast, or for dessert with freshly whipped cream. A drizzle of honey and a sprinkling of pomegranates seeds will further sweeten the pastry triangles.

(Note: The kreplach can be assembled well in advance, chilled in the fridge until solid, then frozen. Alternatively, unbaked kreplach will hold in the fridge for one day.) —Ellen Gray

What You'll Need
  • Dough
  • 3 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Filling
  • 3 ounces full-fat cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 7.5 ounces package Friendship farmer cheese
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup good quality fig or pomegranate jam
  • Egg wash made from 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon whole milk and pinch of kosher salt
  1. For the dough: In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, and lemon zest. Using an electric mixer, on low speed, beat the sour cream, eggs, and melted butter until smooth. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the sour cream mixture, mixing on low, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed, until the mixture comes together. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface, gather it together, kneading it once or twice, then divide it in half. Shape each half into a square, flatten it into a 1/2-inch thickness, and wrap each square in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, line two sheet pans with parchment paper.
  2. Make the filling: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese until fluffy. Add the farmer cheese, salt, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Beat on low until combined, scraping down the sides and the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Add 1 egg and melted butter, beating on low until light and fluffy. Transfer the filling to a container with an airtight lid. Refrigerate while you roll out the dough.
  3. Roll the dough: Retrieve one portion of dough from the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap, dust your rolling pin with flour, and roll out on a lightly floured surface to a rough 13" square and 1/8-inch thick. Use a 3-1/2-inch square cutter or a straight edge and pastry wheel to cut the dough into 12 squares, re-rolling the scraps once. Place the squares on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover them with plastic wrap, and refrigerate. Repeat with the second square of dough.
  4. Fill the kreplach: Retrieve the sheet pan from the refrigerator with the first set of squares, transfer them (on the parchment paper) to your workspace; refrigerate the ones you just rolled out. Use an offset spatula to spread a very thin layer of jam (about 1/2 teaspoon) over the bottom of each square, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Place two teaspoons of the cheese filling over the layer of jam, smoothing it slightly, taking care not to overfill. Brush the edges of each square with egg wash and fold the squares on the diagonal to create triangles. Pinch the edges together, then dip a fork into all-purpose flour and use it to crimp the edges. Make sure they are well sealed. Refrigerate the kreplach on a parchment-lined sheet pan until they are very cold, at least 30 minutes. (If you wish to serve them the following day, cover the filled kreplach with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.) Repeat with the remaining portion of dough.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350° F. Retrieve the kreplach from the refrigerator, dividing them equally between two parchment-lined sheet pans. Brush each kreplach with egg wash and use a small fork to prick holes on the top of each pastry. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the sheet pans halfway through, until the kreplach are golden. Cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving with fresh berries, yogurt or whipped cream, and honey. (Leftovers should be placed in a tin, covered and refrigerated. Frozen, unbaked kreplach should go directly from freezer to oven, though they may require a few more minutes in the oven.)

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