Teiglech Recipe

"These little pasteries are part of our culinary heritage as well as a reminder of the rich and diverse Jewish life of Eastern Europe."

In the Fall 2017 issue of Pakn Treger, Sima Beeri wrote about her mother's traditional Jewish-Lithuanian cooking and shared a recipe for teiglech, a Jewish treat served on special occasions. Below is Sima's recipe for these little treats. 

Ingredients for 40 teiglech (approximately):

4 medium eggs
3 medium egg yolks
3 tbsp vegetable oil
¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tbsp vodka
400g (14 oz) plain flour, plus a little flour for rolling out pastry
100-150g (3-5 oz) raisins or sultanas

Ingredients for cooking syrup:

1 kg (2 lb 7 oz) sugar
4 cups water
½ liter (17 fluid oz) honey
½ tsp. citric acid

Ingredients for coating:

1 cup sugar
2 tsp powdered ginger
2 tbsp dried and grated orange rind

How to prepare:

  1. Place all syrup ingredients into a large pan (10L, (10 ½ quart) something of a size you would make jam in) and mixing occasionally, slowly bring to the boil.

     While the syrup is slowly cooking:
     
  2. Combine the 4 whole eggs and the 3 egg yolks with the oil in a large bowl and whisk until well combined.
     
  3. Mix bicarbonate of soda with the vodka and incorporate into the egg mixture.
     
  4. Add flour, a 1/4 at a time until you can knead it into a soft dough (depending on the flour, occasionally an extra tbsp. or two are needed).
     
  5. Divide the dough into four and then each quarter into two (or three depending on the size of the teiglech you prefer).
     
  6. Roll each section into a sausage (approximately 2cm (3/4 in) in diameter) and place a row of sultanas down the middle. Pinch the dough together so that the sultanas are surrounded by it.
     
  7. Divide each sausage into 6 sections.  Roll each section between your fingers to elongate it to approximately 10cm (4 in) and make a knot out of each separate sausage. Place on floured surface.
     
  8. When the syrup starts bubbling vigorously, put the teiglech carefully into the syrup. Cover, set on medium/low and cook for 25 minutes without opening the lid.
     
  9. Open the lid and carefully mix the teiglech. Set on medium/high and continue cooking for a further 30 minutes or until the teiglech change color to dark honey.

While the teiglech are cooking, prepare a medium-size bowl with the coating ingredient, ready to coat the teiglech.

Option 1: At this point take the teiglech off the heat and pour in a cup of boiling water. Do it carefully, pouring a third at a time, making sure to move the teiglech out of the way. As soon as this is done, take them out two at a time with a serrated spoon and put them directly into the coating sugar and then place them on a large tray to cool down.

Option 2: If you choose to leave them in the syrup, transfer the teiglech into a large sealable container, cover with the syrup and cool them well before closing the lid.

Notes:

  • How to make the dried orange peel: carefully peel an orange dividing the outer skin into ¼ with a small knife. Keep the peeled rind in a sunny spot for a couple of weeks until completely dry. Then store until needed. Grate approximately 2 wedges with a fine cheese grinder. (It provides a concentrated aroma and flavor which one cannot achieve from grated fresh orange rind.)
  • The teiglech will keep well for a couple of weeks in an air-tight container. Do not refrigerate.
  • There is always leftover syrup. It is excellent for a honey cake (instead of pure honey) or on pancakes (instead of maple syrup).