Rugelach - Beyond The Olive Style
Tis The Season to Pivot or Pirouette. (Your style, your choice).
This started out as a – “Don’t change a thing” recipe - Leave the dough alone- use cream cheese and butter (because pants stretch in a perfect world) … but then there was, and still is, a National Cream Cheese Shortage! (I do wonder if it will make it into our history textbooks in 20 years, if not, I’ll tell my grandkids this story.)
Some pastry recipes you don't dare mess with. Baking is not as forgiving as cooking. Dough is an art. So, what if you can’t find cream cheese? Staring at the empty refrigerator at the grocery store, you notice a lone container of Mascarpone and you grab it – wondering if you should just relent and make Tiramisiu – but no – stick with the agenda – Rugelach, for the win.
Then the Beyond The Olive Phenomenon kicks in - there are things we can tweak - such as fillings - to assert our unique creativity.
The NY Times published a cherry rugelach recipe using cherry jam. I haven't met a cherry jam I'm fond of... but I've met plenty of cherries, I love, and I love our California cherries in balsamic, so I thought - why not substitute balsamic cherries for cherry jam?
Time to preheat your oven!
FOR THE DOUGH:
- 1 (8-ounce/225-gram) package cream cheese, softened or Mascarpone
- 1 cup/225 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened
- ¼ cup/50 grams granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups/255 grams all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
FOR THE FILLING:
- ½ cup/100 grams granulated sugar
- ¼ cup/55 grams light brown sugar, firmly packed
- 1 ¾ teaspoons ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¾ cup/75 grams walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)
- ½ cup dried cherries, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup/120 milliliters Cherries in Balsamic, pureed
- Milk, for brushing
- Make the dough: Using an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand-held electric mixer, beat cream cheese/marscapone and butter on medium speed until smooth and well blended. Beat in sugar and vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low, and gradually add flour and salt until just incorporated.
- Scrape dough onto plastic wrap and form a ball. Divide dough into 4 portions and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 3 days.
- Make the filling: Combine 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar, the brown sugar, 3/4 teaspoon cardamom, the cinnamon, walnuts (if using) and dried cherries in a medium bowl. Stir until well mixed. Set aside.
- Roll out and form the rugelach: Line 4 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick liners, or slightly grease the pans with nonstick cooking spray. Remove dough from refrigerator and allow it to sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes, or until malleable enough to roll out.
- On a clean, lightly floured work surface, roll out each dough portion, one at a time, into a 9-inch circle, about 1/8-inch thick. Rotate dough while rolling to ensure it does not stick to work surface.
- Using the back of a spoon, evenly spread 2 tablespoons pureed cherries in balsamic onto the rolled-out dough. Sprinkle about 1/2 cup the dried cherry-walnut filling over the balsamic cherries, and, using your hands, press the filling firmly and evenly over the dough.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the dough circle, like pieces of a pie, into 12 triangles. With an offset spatula or thin knife, loosen the triangles from the work surface. Starting at the wide end of the triangle and working to the narrow tip, roll up each piece and bend the ends around to form a slight crescent shape.
- Place rugelach, narrow tip tucked beneath, on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 1/2 inches between each. Refrigerate, lightly covered with plastic wrap, for at least 30 minutes (and up to 24 hours) to help them keep their shape on the oven. Clean work surface before rolling out the next batch of dough.
- When ready to bake, heat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cardamom. Brush rugelach with milk and sprinkle cardamom sugar on top.
- Bake until lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Rotate cookie sheets halfway through for even baking. Transfer sheets to wire rack to cool completely.