One of the first things I lay my eyes on when I walk into a NY deli are Rugelach – particularly the raspberry kind. I’m not even sure when I first became so obsessed with these Jewish pastries, but something tells me I was sold the first time I sunk my teeth into one. There are few things I can think of that are better than a rich, flaky cream cheese dough slathered with a tangy fruit filling. Add the nuts…and oh my goodness!
This recipe in particular is all about abundance. The rolls are twice the size of your ordinary Rugelach and the filling is bursting at the seams with fruit and nuts. They’re close to the size of a cinnamon roll when laid flat (yes, really) but they’re a bit thinner in width, so you could say you’re saving on the calories (a good selling point).
If you’re as obsessed with Rugelach as I am, I encourage you to give these generous rolls (a.k.a. Rugelach on steroids) a try. They’re addictive and abundantly satisfying.
As a side note, this recipe is done in parts and requires you to chill the dough twice during the process. It’s best if you start the day/night before to give yourself time to properly chill, roll, chill, and bake.
Happy Hump Day baking!
Ingredients (for the pastry)
~ 3 sticks unsalted butter (12 ounces), at room temperature
~ 12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
~ 1/4 cup sugar
~ 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Ingredients (for the filling and topping)
~ 2 cups granulated sugar
~ 1/2 packed light brown sugar
~ 3 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
~ 2 1/2 cups coarsely chopped, toasted nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds)
~ 2 cups fruit preserve or spreadable fruit w/ chunks (strawberry-peach spreadable fruit for this recipe)
~ 2 cups assorted dried fruit (cherries, apricots and dates for this recipe)
~ 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon mil for egg wash
Beat the butter, cream cheese, and salt together until smooth in a mixer. Mixing on medium-low, gradually add the sugar until light. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, mixing only until dough comes together. Turn the dough out onto a counter and work gently into a ball. Divide the dough in half and press each half into a rough rectangle. Wrap each half in plastic and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
Whisk together 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar, the brown sugar, and 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside. Put the remaining 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, 2 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon, and 1 1/2 cups of the assorted nuts into the work bowl of a food processor and pulse until nuts are finely chopped. Place in a bowl and reserve for topping the Rugelach.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Working with one piece of chilled dough at a time, place it on a lightly floured surface and let is soften for a few minutes. Flour your rolling pin and roll the dough into a rectangle 14 x 10 inches and about 1/4 inch thick.Trim the edges of the dough to make a perfect rectangle and then cut the dough in half. You should have two 14 x 5 inch rectangles.
Spread each half generously with one quarter of the fruit preserve, sprinkle with one quarter of the brown sugar – cinnamon mixture, then add 1/2 cup of the remaining chopped nuts and 1/2 cup of the dried fruit over each half. Starting with the short end, roll up each rectangle all the way to the other end. (Note: if you’d like smaller Rugelach, roll from the long edge of the dough)
Transfer the rolls to the paper-lined baking sheet and roll and fill the remaining dough. Cover with plastic and refrigerate at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with one roll of dough at a time, brush the roll with the egg wash. Using a serrated knife, slice the roll into pieces that are 1/2 inch to 1 inch wide. Toss each slice in the cinnamon-sugar-nut mixture to coat generously (using your fingers if necessary).
Transfer the Rugelach to the baking sheets cut sides down, leaving an inch between pastries. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes, rotating pans half way through. The Rugelach are done when the tops are golden and the bottoms are caramelized. Cool the pastries on the pan for 5 minutes, then scoop with a spatula and place on a cooling rack. Cool to room temperature. Repeat with the remaining rolls of dough.
The Rugelach will keep for a week in air tight containers or sealed in plastic bags. You can also freeze these for up to a month.