"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:
- 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:
- Combine the 4 whole eggs and the 3 egg yolks with the oil in a large bowl and whisk until well combined.
- Mix bicarbonate of soda with the vodka and incorporate into the egg mixture.
- 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).
- Divide the dough into four and then each quarter into two (or three depending on the size of the teiglech you prefer).
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).