Our project for this week is contributing baker Lauren Groveman’s Rugelach. These were definitely not my mother-in-law’s rugelach. When my husband and I were first married I think we had an endless supply of rugelach and/or schnecken. Every week there were pretty tins of prepared treats to take home after Friday night dinner. Mom’s rugelach were crescent shaped pastry with cinnamon sugar and nuts; I don’t believe she ever filled them with lekvar or fruit. Schnecken were rolled jelly-roll style and cut. Because they were always available I never attempted to make them. Sadly, after many years, there came the week when there would never again be treats in the pretty tins. When we broke up mom’s house I packed away the tins.
Once again, Dorie presents us with a recipe that requires another recipe to be made first. I made both the prune and the apricot lekvar. Making the lekvars (pages 498 and 449) was very simple. Basically, the dried fruits are rehydrated by simmering in water until they are soft and then they are pureed in a food processor and mixed with chopped nuts. Both recipes made quite a bit more lekvar than expected but that was fine with me as I knew I could use them to make hamentashen the next week.
With the lekvar made, I prepared the topping(granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon) and the filling(sugar, cinnamon, and nuts). The recipe also called for 2 cups of diced dried fruits. None of the available fruits at the grocery appealed to me at first, then I saw several large containers of glazed red cherries on the clearance shelf. I love candied cherries; I could eat a whole box of chocolate covered cherries. I thought the cherries would add a little color to the rugelach.
The cream cheese pastry dough was simple and easy to put together. It does need to be chilled in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Mine actually got to chill overnight.
Finally, with all the parts prepared it was time to put them to together to produce the rugelach. This is where the difficulty started for me. The directions say to roll out half the dough to make two 14″ x 5″ rectangles. I did not read the directions correctly the first time but I did catch my mistake before it caused a problem. Once the lekvar, sugar and nut filling, and then a half cup of diced fruit was spread on the 5″ wide strip of dough it was impossible for me to roll it up jelly roll style. Not only would it not make a spiral the ends almost wouldn’t meet. At first I didn’t know what to do; there was no way that the cookies could have been cut from what I had. I finally decided to continue rolling across the other 5″ inch strip spread with lekvar and the nut filling but without the diced fruit. That worked. I ended up with two logs, one prune and one apricot.
The filled logs are then chilled again. The next morning the logs were removed from the refrigerator one at a time and brushed with an egg wash. Then the logs are sliced into 1″ pieces. Then each cookie is pressed into the sugar-cinnamon topping and placed on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. After about 25 minutes in a 375 degree oven the rugelach were golden and perfect.
Dorie says these keep for a week in an airtight container. That may be true in Dorie’s house but unfortunately my golden rugelach placed in those pretty tins that were stored away several years ago lasted less than three days. These rugelach were not mom’s rugelah but they were delicious and the path through our kitchen was frequently followed by all members of the family who each had to have just one more. One more, and one more, and one more until they were gone.
I had planned to make half jellyroll style and half crescent shaped rugelach but since I had to use more dough than Dorie called for I was only able to make the flat, jellyroll style. I will certainly revisit this recipe again and try the other but that will have to wait. There’s hamentashen and a birthday cake to be made this week too.
You can see how all the others did rugelach here.
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