Saltenosses

Saltenosses

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.

Saltenosses recipe

Saltenosses recipe

Saltenosses recipe

saltenosses

makes 24 dumplings

 

  • ¾ cup cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 egg yolk, 1 tsp vanilla paste (or extract)
  • 300-400 ml cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp water
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cinnamon quill, split into shards
  • Sugar (I used raw) and ground cinnamon, to sprinkle
For the filling, combine the cottage cheese, sugar, egg yolk and vanilla paste. Set aside in the fridge while you make the dough.
In a large mixing bowl lightly beat the 2 eggs, water and salt. Gradually add the flour until a dough forms. Dust the bench with flour and turn out the dough. Knead for about five minutes until soft and pliable and then roll out to about a 3-4 mm thickness. Using a cutter, or drinking glass that’s about 7-8 cm in diameter, cut the dough into rounds. Drop 1 teaspoon of the cheese filling into the centre of each round, lightly brush the edges with water, fold over one half, press and seal. Use a small fork to crimp the edges. The dough should make about 24 rounds.
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Drop the dumplings into the boiling water and cook for 15 minutes. Drain well. Place the cooked dumplings as a single layer into 2 oven-proof baking dishes, pour over enough cream to cover and poke in the shards of cinnamon. Sprinkle over a little sugar and bake for 45 minutes.
Alternatively you can just cook 12 of the dumplings and potentially freeze the others (uncooked) for next time.
Once out of the oven, sprinkle with a little more sugar and ground cinnamon and serve hot.
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