The first I heard of saltenosses was when talking with a man in his 80’s about the food he ate as a youngster. His mother used to make these for him many years ago, when he referred to them as being salty noses. I immediately began looking online for these Jewish dumplings and came away with a little information on them. The Jewish Lithuanians call them šaltanosiai and when something like 98% of them were killed in the 1940’s very few real Lithuanians are around now, meaning that not many people know about this dish.
It’s been about a year since I first learned about saltenosses (or virtinukai for the purists) and after recently talking with his daughter about more Jewish food, she brought in a collection of traditional cookbooks for me to take home to look at. One of the books, named Eat’s a Pleasure, is a book published by the Vereeniging Union of Jewish Women that features loads of recipes donated by Jewish women. I almost fell over when I turned the page and found a recipe for saltenosses by a woman named Sonia Joffe.
The recipe is a little vague in terms of not mentioning how much flour is used for the dough or what quantity of cheese, so I used my common sense. I put a little of my own personal touch into the recipe by adding vanilla paste to the cheese filling and sprinkling shards of cinnamon over the dumplings before they went into the oven. I reckon a bit of rum would have been a nice addition to the cream as well.
My first attempt at saltenosses was a success and I absolutely adore its simple and rich flavours. It’s a mixture of sweet and savoury, something very Eastern European, and is definitely a treat I’ll be making again.
makes 24 dumplings