Happy almost-December! How did this happen? I mean, wasn’t it just summer? In the past three months, I’ve moved from Minnesota back to Massachusetts, eaten my way through Spain and Portugal, applied for 22 (!) jobs, and developed a minor obsession with 18th century novels.
I’ve also fallen in love with making rugelach, the bite-sized Jewish pastry that I always associate with waiting in line for bagels as a kid. I used to keep my distance, as they typically include raisins: my all-time least favorite food. But now that I know how to bake, I refuse to let raisins stop me from indulging in the pastry of my Ashkenazic ancestors. Luckily for me, Yotam Ottolenghi has a recipe for rugelach in which raisins are mercifully nowhere to be seen.
If you’ve never tried rugelach, prepare for the flaky texture of pie crust combined with the slight tang of apricot and lemon zest, punctuated by a sweet, caramelized crunch of toasted walnuts and cinnamon. If I haven’t convinced you yet, take it from Bon Appetit’s holiday baking issue, which features these beauties prominently on the cover.
In classic Ottolenghi fashion, this recipe calls for one slightly uncommon ingredient: quince paste. I swapped in apricot jam, which is easier to find. The dough comes together quickly (hello, food processor), and the addition of cream cheese makes it easy to work with.
Once you’ve whipped up the dough and combined the sugar, nuts, and cinnamon, the process is simple (and oddly relaxing):
- Roll out half of the dough to a circle about 10″ and trim the edges with a pairing knife
- Spread the jam evenly over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch margin around the edge
- Sprinkle the nut/cinnamon/sugar mixture evenly over the jam
- Using a pairing knife (or pizza cutter!), slice into 12 or so evenly-sized triangles
- Roll each triangle from the outside in, until you have what looks like a tiny croissant
- Repeat steps 1-5 with second half of the dough
- Arrange rugelach on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with demerara sugar
Get the full recipe from Sweet here! Don’t be intimidated. I promise you will want to add these to your baking repertoire. They make the perfect breakfast/snack/dessert/gift, and will make your house smell tantalizingly delicious.