Rugelach are a Jewish pastry enriched with cream cheese and traditionally filled with things like nuts, jam and raisins.
Being a good girlfriend, I made these for my boyfriend, who is of Jewish heritage.
I originally attempted to make these little pastries around Hanukah, but unfortunately the recipe I was using was in cup measurements. I hate cup measurements. They are just not precise enough. And at some point, when I was converting all the measurements into grams, I got confused and only added half the flour required.
The results were delicious, but they were not rugelach. They were more like little piles of cheesy, sweet, nutty goo.
So this time I made sure to add enough flour, despite the annoying cup measurements.
My rugelach were a little untidy, and next time I would chop the walnuts more finely or blitz them in a food processor. I also make peanut butter and chocolate rugelach with finely chopped chocolate, but I would use grated chocolate or mini chocolate chips next time.
But Tom was happy with them, trying to eat one before I'd even taken a photo!
Another idea for a filling would be Nutella and finely chopped or blitzed hazelnuts.
This recipe makes 32. Don't be discouraged by my attempts, I'm sure you can do much better!
You will need:
For the pastry:
250g plain flour
a quarter tsp salt
225g cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
icing sugar, to dust
For the filling:
200g walnuts or 100g each pecans and walnuts, ground small with 30 to 40 pulses in the food processor or chopped as small as you can manage
60g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Make the pastry by either mixing the flour, butter and cream cheese in a standing mixer with the cake mixer attachment or beating together with a wooden spoon. It should look as below, although this is only half the mixture.
2. Separate the dough into two separate amounts and wrap in clingfilm, then flatten into thick disks. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
3. Preheat the oven to 190C. Dust a clean surface, hands and a rolling pin with icing sugar. Roll out one of the disks of dough into a circle, about 3mm thick. Mix together the butter, sugar, honey and vanilla for the filling and spread half over the dough, then sprinkle over half the nuts.
4. Cut the disk into 16 strips and roll up each strip from the edge of the circle to the centre, taking care to ensure the filling does not fall out. Place on a greased baking tray.
5. Put the first batch of pastries in the oven and repeat with the second batch. Bake each batch for 20 minutes until crisp and golden.
6. Remove the pastries from the baking sheet quickly, or they will stick. Serve warm.
If 32 is too many for you, the shaped dough also freezes well. Put them on a baking tray and ensure they don't touch, then remove when frozen and put in a freezer bag.
I repeated the recipe a couple of weeks after, chopping the nuts much more finely. This picture shows the results and is evidence that baking is, like any skill, a process of continuous improvement.
Trial and error is a major part of baking for me. It took me many attempts to get macarons right. So don't give up just because you have one imperfect bake!