Having lived in Lower Merion for over two years, I really had no excuse to not know my Jewish food. I had heard of challah, matza, and brisket, but when my friend Jen mentioned schnecken, I was like, HUH?! Being the curious one with food that I am, I just had to try and make some of this mysterious schnecken, which were described to me as triangles of dough rolled up with a sweet filling.
Other cultures’ food has always fascinated me. To be welcoming to foreign foods opens up several hundred culinary territories for exploration. The Jewish community in LM is so strong and so vibrant. Since moving here, I’ve really learned much about Jewish holidays and food. For example, I know that the main Jewish holidays are Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, that it is customary for Jewish people eat challah every Friday, that many cannot eat meat and dairy together, and that Hanukkah, or rather, Chanukah, isn’t nearly as big of a holiday and everyone thinks it is.
There is something about a family recipe. Whether it was copied down hastily while watching Julia Child on TV, or created after countless experiments in the kitchen, a family recipe comes with love, and inspires trust. Just like how a meal cooked by you tastes better than a meal cooked by someone else (it’s true!), a family recipe is always better than any recipe from some other source.
This recipe for schnecken belongs to my friend Jen’s great-grandmother, Reba Salkoff. Although this schnecken is far from healthy, I really could not change the recipe. It worked so perfectly and meddling with an age-old family recipe like this one seemed like a sin to me. Don’t worry though, as long as you limit yourself to one or two of these delectable pastries, your heart will be just fine.
Granny Reba's Schnecken Recipe
2 ½ cup flour
1 cup butter (2 sticks)
¾ cup sour cream
1 egg yolk; reserve white
Filling (use any):
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cut butter into flour. Rub into flour with hands until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add egg yolk and sour cream.
3. Knead dough until it comes together. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
4. Divide dough into 6 portions. Roll in cinnamon and sugar and cut into triangle wedges. 5. Beat egg whites. Put desired filling onto wedge; roll wedges and brush with egg whites. Sprinkle sugar on top.
6. Bake for 20 minutes on greased baking trays or until golden.