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Two of our Moosewood members have a long-standing friendly disagreement about whose mother’s rugalach recipe is better. Actually, both are equally delicious, but we are secretly invested in keeping their friendly controversy alive and encourage them to make their versions again and again so that we can “compare.” Here’s one of the contenders for a fussy, exquisite rugalach that’s absolutely worth the bother. Wynnie Stein lovingly dedicates these sumptuous morsels to her mother, who taught her, as Alice Walker says, “to honor the difficult.”
The pastry dough can be prepared the night before or up to two days in advance. You can also freeze unbaked rugalach in a zippered freezer bag for up to one month; then just bake them for 5 or 6 minutes longer than usual.
Yields 32 Rugalach
Preparation Time: about 1 Hour
Chilling Time: at least 2 Hours
Baking Time: 20 Minutes
- 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2¾ cups unbleached white flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅔ cup chilled cherry preserves (10-ounce jar)*
- ½ cup dried cherries
- ¾ cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 cup finely chopped almonds**
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- sprinkling of sugar
- In a large bowl, cream the butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy.
- Add the flour and salt and knead the dough briefly until well mixed.
- Wrap the dough in a large sheet of wax paper to form a tight package and mold the dough into a 12-inch-iong log.
- Chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
- When you are ready to bake the rugalach, combine all of the filling ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and milk for the glaze.
- Line a heavy baking pan with parchment paper or lightly oil it with cooking spray.
- Divide the dough into four equal pieces.
- Gently flatten each piece into a disk and wrap each one in wax paper.
- Work with one disk at a time and keep the rest refrigerated.
- Using a rolling pin, roll each disk between 2 sheets of wax paper into a 9-inch round.
- Spread one-quarter of the filling on the dough and pat down.
- Carefully cut each round into 8 equal pie-shaped wedges.
- Roll up the wedges from the wide outer edge to the center point.
- Place the pastries point side down on the pan about an inch apart.
- Preheat the oven to 375° when you begin to work on the last disk of dough.
- Brush all of the pastries with the glaze and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, until golden brown.
- Carefully transfer the rugalach to a wire rack to cool completely, then store in a sealed container.
If chopping almonds in a food processor or blender, add ½ teaspoon of flour to prevent the nuts from becoming pasty.