This classic version of Jewish Rugelach, made in a crescent shape, has a thin layer of apricot preserves brushed on the rolled pastry, then sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, golden raisins, and walnuts. The pastry, made with cream cheese, adds just a slight tangy contrast to the sweetness of the filling and is very easy to work with and roll out. These are wonderful little pastries that are hard to resist. Rugelach is easy to make, but it does take time as the dough needs to be refrigerated before rolling and filling
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
½ cup apricot preserves
For Rolling on Pastry Board:
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup confectioners' (powdered) sugar
¼ cup whipping (heavy) cream
Reserved sugar-cinnamon mixture
- In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine flour, sugar, and salt, mix on low speed to blend. Add the butter and cream cheese and mix on medium speed just until blended, do not over mix. Or, process in a food processor just until the dough comes together in small clumps.
- Divide dough into 4 equal portions. Form each portion into a 4 inch flattened disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight.
- Plump the raisins by steaming with a double boiler; steam the raisins about 1 minute or until softened. Thoroughly drain, or spread the raisins on paper toweling to dry. Tip: Create a double boiler by filling a saucepan with about 2 inches of water and bringing it to a simmer. Place a steamer or plastic or wire mesh colander on top of the simmering water, the upper pan should not touch the water.
- Finely chop the walnuts. Set aside
- In a small bowl, combine sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.
- Just before ready to use, place apricot preserves in a small microwaveable bowl and heat in the microwave 30 to 40 seconds just to warm slightly and make easier to spread. Or, heat in a small saucepan on the stovetop, stir and heat the jam over low heat until it liquefies. Remove from heat. Set aside.
For Rolling on Pastry Board:
- In a small bowl, combine flour and powdered sugar. Set aside.
- Remove dough disks from refrigerator. Let stand 10 to 30 minutes before rolling. Tip: The dough is ready to roll when you can leave a slight imprint in the dough when you press it with your fingers.
- Lightly sprinkle a pastry mat or pastry board and rolling pin with some of the flour and powdered sugar mixture, roll one of the dough disks into a 10 inch circle.
Tip: As you are rolling the pastry, gently pick the pastry up and lightly re-flour the work surface, and then replace the pastry upside down. Make sure it is not sticking to the board when ready to add the filling or it will make rolling into crescents difficult. If necessary, pick the pastry up again and lightly re-flour the surface underneath.
- Use a pastry brush and brush 2 tablespoons of the warm apricot preserves evenly over the top of the dough. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar-cinnamon mixture over the top of the preserves, then sprinkle ¼ cup golden raisins over the top, and then sprinkle ¼ cup walnuts over the top. Run the rolling pin gently over the top to gently press the mixture into the dough.
- Using a sharp knife, pizza cutter, or pastry cutter, cut the dough into 12 wedges. Tip: The easiest way to cut each piece evenly is to cut the dough as though cutting a pizza. Cut the dough into quarters, and then cut each quarter into thirds.
- Starting from the wide end, roll up each wedge, ending with the pointed tip underneath. Bend the edges slightly to form a crescent. Place each crescent on a large baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough discs.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F while crescents are chilling. Prepare 2 large baking sheets; line with parchment paper.
- Remove enough crescents from the refrigerator to bake one pan of cookies (about 12) and keep remainder of crescents in the refrigerator until ready to use. Place crescents on the prepared baking sheet.
- Use a pastry brush and lightly brush the tops of each crescent with a small amount of heavy cream. Lightly sprinkle a little of the reserved sugar-cinnamon mixture over the top of each.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the bottoms are light brown and the edges are golden brown. Remove from oven and use a metal spatula to carefully transfer the fragile cookies to a wire cooling rack to cool. Tip: Transferring the cookies immediately from the baking sheet to the wire rack will help prevent any leaked out filling from sticking to the cookies. Tip: Either use fresh parchment paper for each pan of cookies, or clean off the parchment paper between uses, otherwise any filling that has leaked out will burn when put back into the oven.
Makes 4 dozen cookies
Baking Illustrated, by the editors of Cook's Illustrated, 2004
Greenspan, Dorie, Baking, Houghton Mifflin Company, New York, 2006
Martha Stewart Holiday Sweets Magazine, 2009
Walter, Carole, Great Cookies, Clarkson Potter Publishers, New York, 2003
Description: Shaped Cookies with Fruit and Nuts
Pan: Two Large Baking Sheets
Pan Prep: Parchment Lined
Oven Temp: 375o
Prep Time: 4 Hours
Baking Time: 20 to 25 Minutes
Yield: 4 Dozen
Storage: Airtight Container, Room Temperature
Recipe Type: Cookie, Raisin, Walnuts, Apricot, Christmas
Help: Cookie Hints
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