Saturday, December 15, 2012

I’m just a Rugelach kind of guy

Cuernitos type Rugelach
One of the most appealing seasonal treats, especially around Hanukah, are Rugelach (various spellings), rich, flaky cream cheese mini pastries with fillings of raisins and nuts, or tangy fruit spreads. I like the classic ground walnut and raisin, also the gooier apricot jam plus nuts and bread or cake crumbs.

The traditional style is like a mini croissant, but these are very laborious and messy to make. A much easier form are miniature schnecken, snails, sort of a small cinnamon roll. 

The best Rugelach are small enough to be eaten in one or two bites as they are so rich. These are best made over two days, as the dough is mixed the first day, rolled out and filled, then baked on the second day. 

They are good keepers if you can keep your family’s, friends’  and your own hands off of them.

This recipe is derived from a professional formula in The Pastry Chef, p. 596, written by William J. Sultan, AVI Publishing Company, 1983

You will need a scale to measure the ingredients most accurately, and a substantial stand mixer with at least a 5 quart capacity bowl.

RECIPE Difficulty: Moderately challenging

Assemble the dough ingredients in advance of mixing.

Pastry Dough 
Cream Cheese 1 lb   2 oz
Unsalted Butter 1 lb  2 oz
Mix with paddle attachment until smooth and plastic.
Scrape sides and bottom of bowl.
Confectioner's sugar  4 oz
salt 1/2 - 1 tsp.
vanilla 1 tsp
lemon zest (optional) 1/2 tsp.
Blend in confectioner's sugar, salt and vanilla, lemon zest if using. Scrape bowl.
Mix well, scrape often
Add Bread Flour, 1 lb,  2 oz. Add flour in increments, blending well and scraping often. Mix thoroughly but do not develop the gluten.

Empty dough onto a work surface well dusted with flour. Form into a flattened rectangle. Roll out to about 3/8" thickness. It should be a rectangle about 2:3 ratio in dimensions.

First rollout
Brush off excess flour, give dough sheet a three fold (A letter fold. Remember paper letters?)

Adjust pants if needed
Turn dough 90º and give another three fold. Wrap in plastic film and place in a small pan. Refrigerate 30 - 60 minutes.

After the chilling period, take out dough and roll out into a rectangle and give it a four fold (A book fold. Books - remember them? Maybe this reference will rekindle your interest.), dusting off excess flour. Rewrap and refrigerate 12-24 hours.

Twenty-four hours later...
Remove dough from refrigerator, allow to come to cool room temperature, about 1 hour. Cut in half. Rewrap the other portion and set aside.

Roll the first portion out to form a rectangle about 1/8" thick.

 Smear evenly but not heavily with the filling of your choice. See below for ideas. **
Poppy seed schmear
Sprinkle generously with chopped walnuts or pecans. Sprinkle lightly with light cinnamon sugar mixture. Dry bread cake or bread crumbs are useful to retard filling melt and runoff.

Roll up from the long side to a diameter of about 1 1/4 inch diameter, seam side down.

With a sharp knife or a bench scraper, cut slices of about 1 '' width. Continue until all are cut.

Flatten rugelach slightly.
Brush lightly with melted butter and sprinkle lightly with white sugar.


The oven is preheated to 375º F. as the rugelach are panned onto parchment paper lined sheet pans.

After a 30 minute rest at room temperature, the are placed in the oven and baked about 18-22 minutes, turning and exchanging pans once. The finished rugelach should be lightly browned and tending toward crisp.

First rugelach out of the oven. Could be a bit wider and definitely browner
**Here are a few filling ideas.

Finely chopped walnuts or pecans and ground, soaked raisins. I soak the raisins in an orange or tangerine liqueur.

Poppy seed filling. Good direct from the can, but much better with a couple of TBSPS of lemon juice and some lemon zest.

Apricot jam: Smuckers low sugar, with more fruit works best. Other jams may run due to a scarcity of fruit and a high pectin content.

Almond: almond filling and chopped, toasted almonds. Would go well with grated semisweet chocolate, or mini chocolate chips.

You, too can be a rugelach baker, just by following the above instructions.

A big belly is not a requisite, but it can't hurt


b m said...

I haven't made this dough for years. Thanks for bringing it to mind again and posting the recipe as when I looked through my recipe file it was not one that made the grade to bring with me down here. Thanks.
By the way, did you recieve my answer to your email a few days ago?

DonCuevas said...

I see your email address, and I know it from various fora, such as, I think, But I don't recall getting an email from you. So much has taken place in the last two weeks.

My memory must be failing.

Don Cuevas

John Calypso said...

Yum! Now if I can just get my wife to follow your lead ;-)

DonCuevas said...

And why not you?

Don Cuevas

John Calypso said...

I am not allowed in the kitchen - too messy I am told. ;-0

b m said...

oops, sorry my error and failing memory. I confused your blog with another cooking blog I follow in regard to the email.
Sorry for the confusion.
Merry Christmas.