Somewhere between 1937-1938 a chef named Fania Lewando from the vegetarian, kosher restaurant, Dietojarska Jadłodajnia in Vilnius (then part of Poland), published a cookbook- “Vegetarisch-Dietischer Kokhbukh: 400 Shpayzn Gemakht Oysshlislekh fun Grinsn” (Vegetarian-Diet Cookbook. 400 Dishes Made Solely with Vegetables). Fania, aware of medical discoveries – such as the discovery of vitamins by Polish scientists – and dietary trends, also followed the Jewish law of tza’ar ba’alei chayim, which means not causing any unnecessary suffering to any living creature, and so chose to eat and cook vegetarian on principle. The cookbook was remarkable for a couple of reasons: first, that three thousand copies were printed, which, at the time, was a pretty impressive amount, and second for the fact that she reimagined traditional meat dishes such as schnitzel, kishke, and cholent as completely meatless options.
Fania was killed in the Holocaust and her collection of recipes forgotten until it was rediscovered in the mid-1990s and translated into English as “The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook.” Fania’s cuisine is a mixture of Eastern European comfort food with light Middle Eastern influences, and provides a great deal of inventive vegetarian options. This recipe for “Sweet Kreplach with Wild Berries” gives both a reimagined dough (listed) and the original according to Fania (in the notes at the end of the recipe). Take your pick (both are delicious) and enjoy.
Ingredients for Sweet Kreplach with berries
For the Dough:
- 420 grams flour
- 200 ml water hot
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sour cream
For the filling:
- 8.8 oz (250 grams) Berries a mix of any kind (small, sweet plums are also good)
- 2 tablespoons Sugar
- tablespoon sour cream
- tablespoon Sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter to toss in a bowl with the hot kreplach
Prepare the dough:
1. Mix all the dough ingredients together and knead by hand for approximately 6 minutes until a smooth, shiny dough is obtained. Alternatively, you can use a stand mixer, fitted with the dough hook attachment. Transfer to a bowl, cover and set aside for 10 minutes.
2. Lightly flour your work surface and turn out the dough. Roll out the dough out to about 1/8" (3 mm, some say as thin as a newspaper) thick and cut out rounds with a cookie cutter or glass approximately 3" (8 cm) in diameter.
Prepare the Filling:
3. Mix the berries with the 2 tablespoons of sugar. if you are using frozen berries make sure to defrost them first.
Assemble and Cook:
4. Working one at a time, place a dough round in the palm of your hand and place 1 teaspoon of the berry mixture in the center of the round. Bring the edges together and pinch tightly to create a strong seal. Transfer finished to a lightly floured cutting board and fill the remainder in the same manner.
5. Place kreplach in a pot of boiling water adding a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of vinegar, in batches (to avoid any sticking together) and cook for 1-2 minutes , until they all float up . Remove with a slotted spoon, add 2 tablespoons of butter (if desired) , toss in a bowl till butter melts. move onto a plate and place on top a spoonful of the sour cream. Cook the rest of the kreplach in the same manner.
6. Serve warm, sprinkled with sugar.
For Fania’s original dough recipe:
7.75 oz (220 grams) of flour
1 large spoon of cream
Prepare in the same method.