Yiddish for “little twists,” rugelach has its roots in the Jewish communities of Eastern Europe. With a buttery, crescent-shaped dough wrapped around sweet filling, the traditional Jewish pastry is enjoyed all year long, but is often associated with Hanukkah. As the holiday season approaches, rugelach is high on our list as cookie production begins.
Although some recipes will call for a yeast raised dough, rugelach more commonly uses sour cream or cream cheese in a dough that is more pie crust or croissant than danish. While the quality of dough will make or break rugelach, selecting a filling can provide a personal touch that makes each batch something special.
Chocolate, nutella, nuts and marzipan fit the bill, but a combination of nuts, raisins and preserves are used most often. That’s good news for an intrepid canner, as a summer of home canning such jam favorites like strawberry, blueberry and peach leave us with plenty of options. All great choices for a sweet and silky filling, but let your pantry be your guide. We went with apricot, a preserve often associated with this traditional pastry.
Surprisingly simple, the dough takes just a few minutes to prepare. Like pie crust, the less the dough is worked, the flakier the pastry. Once the filling has been applied, the dough is sliced into triangles and rolled up like a crescent roll. The result is crisp on the outside, flaky, buttery and irresistibly gooey within.
In the case of this bite-sized delight, the “little twist” is that you’ll always wish you’d made more.
Yield: 32 cookies
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 sticks butter
- 1 (8 oz) package cream cheese
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cup apricot jam
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoons water
- Demerara sugar, for sprinkling
Place flour, sugar and salt in food processor and pulse to combine.
Cut butter and cream cheese into cubes and add to food processor.
Pulse until dough is crumbly and begins to come together.
Divide dough into 4 balls, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
To prepare filling mix, combine walnuts, raisins, brown sugar and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse to chop
Working with one ball at a time on a lightly floured surface, roll dough into flat 9 inch discs (a pie pan can be used as a guide).
Use a spatula to spread a thin coat of apricot jam on each disc, leaving a one inch border around the edge.
Sprinkle with prepared filling mix.
Cut discs “pizza-style”, into eight wedges.
Starting at the outside edge, roll each wedge into a crescent-roll and arrange onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper about an inch apart with the end point facing down.
Whisk egg with 2 teaspoons of water and brush each cookie with wash.
Sprinkle with Demerara sugar (a eight to one mix of sugar and cinnamon may be substituted).
Bake in a 350 degree oven 30 minutes or until golden brown.
Transfer to wire rack to cool.