This year as a holiday gift i decided to make Rugelach. This is one of my favorite holidays treats right behind the Babka. For years i have made the Babka, then i did some Salted Caramel last year and i was playing around with Fudge this year – but after making all the different kind of fudge i went back to the Rugelach. To me it is just such a delicious little pastry filled with fruits and nuts. Since i am married to a person that comes from Jewish traditions i like to keep some of those traditions. One of them is celebrating Hanukkah! So Happy Hanukkah and in celebration of Hanukkah here is this awesome Rugelach recipe. This recipe is easy to make but somewhat time consuming due to the chilling but if you split it up in two days it is much quicker.
For those not familiar with Hanukkah, it is one of the less important Jewish holidays. However, Hanukkah has become much more popular in modern practice because of its proximity to Christmas.
Hanukkah falls on the twenty-fifth day of the Jewish month of Kislev. Since the Jewish calendar is lunar based, every year the first day of Hanukkah falls on a different day – usually sometime between late November and late December. Because many Jews live in predominately Christian societies, over time Hanukkah has become much more festive and Christmas-like. Jewish children receive gifts for Hanukkah – often one gift for each of the eight nights of the holiday. Many parents hope that by making Hanukkah extra special their children won’t feel left out of all the Christmas festivities going on around them.
Everyone has different traditions – we light the hanukkuyah one night and eat Latkes and then we move on to my Swedish Christmas traditions.
Adapted from: Baking with Julia Child
Yields: About 48 pastries | Prep Time: 60 minute | Chill Time: 6 hours in refrigerator or 1 hour in freezer
The Cream Cheese Pasty
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter at room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
½ tsp salt
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Beat the butter, cream cheese, and salt together until smooth with a mixer, add the sugar and beat until light. Once that is done switch to a paddle attachment. Mixing on low speed add the flour, mixing only until the dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a counter and work it gently into a ball. Divide the dough in half and press each half into a rough rectangle.
Wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate about 2 hour or 30 minutes in the freezer. The dough can be wrapped well and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or frozen for a month.
Yields: 2 cups | Prep Time: 20 minutes
6 cups whole dried apricots
2/4 cups brown sugar
4 ½ tbsp of fresh lemon juice
Place the apricots in a medium saucepan, cover with water, and simmer until the fruit is soft, about 15 minutes. Drain the apricots, reserving about 1 tbsp of the liquid, and put the fruit in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Puree the apricots with the brown sugar and lemon juice, adding a bit of the reserved liquid if the mixture seems too stiff to be spreadable.
This will keep in the refrigerator up to two weeks.
The Filling and Topping
1 cups granulated sugar
½ cup of brown sugar
3 ½ tbsp cinnamon
3 ½ cups coarsely chopped assorted nuts ( I used pecans and walnuts)
2 cups of apricot lekvar (recipe above) or apricot marmalade could work too.
2 cups of assorted dried fruits (I used golden raisins, apricots and figs)
1 large egg for egg wash
You are going to need 3 bowls here:
First bowl – ½ cup of granulated sugar and ½ of the brown sugar and I tbsp of cinnamon and mix.
Second bowl – 1 ½ cups of the remaining sugar, 2 ½ tbsp of cinnamons and 1 ½ cups of the assorted nuts and add to a food processor and pulses a few time until nuts are chopped and put back into your bowl. This is for topping the rugelach.
Third bowl – put the remainder of the 2 cups of the nuts and all the dried fruit (2 cups) into a food processor and pulse a few times and put into a bowl.
Working with one pieces of the chilled dough at a time, place it on lightly floured work surface and let it soften for a few minutes.
Here you have two options of how to roll your rugelach:
Jellyroll – Flour your rolling pin and roll the dough into a rectangle 14 inches by 10 inches and ¼ inch thick. Do not make it much thinner because you need a sturdy wrapper for all the chunky fillings. Using a knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough in half lengthwise, to make two 14×15 inch rectangles; leave the half in place.
Spread each half generously with one quarter (1/2 cup total) of the apricot lekvar. Sprinkle one quarter (1/4 cup) of the cinnamon/sugar mixture from first bowl. Press it down lightly with your fingers. Then sprinkle half (1 cup) of the nuts/fruit mixture third bowl and press it down lightly with your fingers.
Starting with he long edge of dough, roll up each rectangle jelly-roll fashion, tucking in any fruit or nuts that fall out along the way.
Cover the two rolls and put into your refrigerator until firm for about 4 hours or freezer for 30 minutes.
Repeat the steps for the second piece of dough.
The rolls can be covered and refrigerated overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.
Brush the roll all over with the egg wash. Using a serrated knife and a sawing motion, slice the roll into pieces that are 1 to ½ inches wide.
Crescent shape – Flour your rolling pin and roll the dough into an 11- to 12-inch circle and about ¼ inch thick. Do not make it much thinner because you need a sturdy wrapper for all the chunky fillings.
Spread one quarter (1/2 cup total) of the apricot lekvar evenly. Sprinkle one quarter (1/4 cup) of the cinnamon/sugar mixture from first bowl. Press it down lightly with your fingers. Then sprinkle half (1 cup) of the nuts/fruit mixture third bowl and press it down lightly with your fingers.
Using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 16 wedges, or triangles. (The easiest way to do this is to cut the dough into quarters, then to cut each quarter into 4 triangles.) Starting at the base of each triangle, roll the dough up so that each pastry becomes a little crescent.
Arrange the roll-ups on one baking sheet, making sure the points are tucked under the pastry, and refrigerate until firm for about 4 hours or freezer for 30 minutes.
Repeat the steps for the second piece of dough.
The pastries can be covered and refrigerated overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.
Brush the roll all over with the egg wash.
Final Steps and Baking
Position the oven racks to that they divide the over into thirds and preheat the oven to 375F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicon. Although you can probably bake all the pastries at the same time I would do it in batches.
Tosh each pastry in the cinnamon/sugar/nut mixture bowl two to coat generously. Transfer the rugelach to the prepared baking sheet, cut sides down for the jellyroll version, leaving an inch between each pastry.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pans top to bottom and from to back halfway through the baking period. The rugelach are done when the tops are golden and bottoms are caramelized. Cool the pastries on the pans for 5-10 minutes, then releases them from the sheet by running a think spatula under them. Cool to room temperature on a rack. Repeat with the remaining rolls of dough.
The rugelach will keep for a week in airtight containers, seals in plastic bags; they can be frozen up to 2 months.
Here are a few extra tips:
- Take the cream cheese and butter out of the refrigerator just 10 minutes before you’re going to use them – they should be still cold and only a tad soft.
- Give the dough a leisurely chill in the fridge before rolling it out, it makes a big difference. 30 minutes in freezer is min, 4 hours in the refrigerator or overnight even better.
- Refrigerate the pastries after you’ve assembled them – they’ll hold their shape a lot better if you bake them when they’re cold, trust me I have tried not to and they fall apart.