Oh rustic rugelach. It's fun to say (rug-a-la), delicious to eat, but mine weren't so pretty. Look at these dainty pinwheels from Deb at Smitten Kitchen. Or these pretties from Erica's Rugelach & Baking Company. And of course Dorie's look perfect sitting delicately on the plate.
Mine are brimming with filling making the dough work extra hard to wrap around all this goodness. I even watched a video of how to make rugelach from the culinary wizard Martha Stewart and the pros featured on her show before attempting this recipe. In any case, looks don't always account for taste, and these taste great.
Like me, rugelach doesn't know what it wants to be when it grows up, but it has potential. It's destined to be a cookie, but dreams of being a hand pie with the filling hidden behind a curtain of dough, or a rolled and filled cinnamon bun, or better yet a fancy-filled French croissant served at a fine bakery in Paris. I had high hopes for my rugelach, including an origami-styled rugelach or a pinwheel, but my rugelach mojo was off.
Rugelach is a Jewish treat served at Hanukkah that means "little twists" in Yiddish. The dough contains cream cheese and butter, with some flour to hold them together and touch of salt for flavor. For comparison, I made one batch following Dorie's recipe, and in another I used the same amount of sour cream (4 ounces) in the dough instead of the cream cheese as Eliza did from notes from my food diary.
The filling is the fun, flamboyant part. While finding out more about rugelach this week, and saying this name so many times in my head and out loud because it's so much fun to say, I found just as many filling ideas. Although Dorie's sounded full of goodness with chocolate, pecans, currants, and raspberry jam, I thought it would be great to use up some of the apple butter I made last Fall. So, I tried half the dough with an apple butter, raisin, cinnamon-sugar filling and half with Dorie's chocolate version.
Recipe for Rugelach
You can find the recipe for Rugelach in the book Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or here. Dorie also has a blog entry about it. To see how the rest of the TWD group fared with this week's recipe, click here and then click on each blogger! Thanks to Piggy from Piggy’s Cooking Journal who chose the recipe for this week.
Recipe for Apple Butter
Makes 4-5 cups
7 pounds apples
3 cups unsweetened apple cider
2 cups light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of salt
Chop the apples, including the seeds, core, and peel. In large pan, bring the apples and cider to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and cook the mixture for about 30 minutes, or until the apples are softened.
Pass the apples through a food mill or a sieve, pressing on the solids with a spoon. Discard the peel, seeds, and cores. Return the puréed apples to a clean pan.
Add the brown sugar, cardamom, cinnamon, lemon zest, nutmeg, and salt. Simmer the mixture for 30-45 minutes, until thickened. Transfer to sterilized jars.
Seal and process the jars.
This apple butter would be delicious with Tarte aux pommes (Apple Pie). And just yesterday, Stef at Cupcake Project blogged about an apple butter frosting. Sounds delicious!
In side-by-side taste tests, we all liked the cream cheese version of the dough better. It was more crunchy and flaky than the sour cream version. As for the filling, we had mixed results. Some liked the chocolate version and others liked the apple version. I liked both so I'm set.
Since this was the first time I'd [heard of] tasted rugelach, I did some research. I now know where I can buy the best rugelach online in case I want to click for delivery. Chocolate gourmet in Chicago, Illinois sells Rugelach Gift Boxes. I can even join a Rugelach of the Month Club with Suzanne's Sweets in Katonah, New York. And if I need a bite-sized ruggie, I can click over to Ruggies, "cookies with a twist" located in Los Angeles, California.
But I think I'll keep practicing and someday my rugelach won't just be tasty; it will be pretty too.
Recipe for Next Week (November 11)
Kugelhopf on pages 61-63 chosen by Yolanda from The All-Purpose Girl.
I have to thank Karen from Something Sweet by Karen for a Kreativ Blogger award. You're so sweet. Her pictures are drool-worthy and inspiring. Plus she loves Rice Pudding/Creme Brulee, just like me! Thanks, Karen.