This was my first time making and constructing rugelach, and it was surprising in a few ways. I wasn’t sure I would be a fan of all of the dried fruits and nuts, whenever I’m at Zabar’s if I’ve got a hankering I always pick up the chocolate rugelach. And I had an assortment of both the fruit and nuts left over from various holiday baking so I thought it might be a good opportunity to try and clean out the pantry, so I wasn’t sure if mixing too many things together would tip the cookie over the edge of rugelach oblivion. But, I have to say the results were delicious!
This was a time intensive recipe, fortunately I started a week in advance. I made the apricot lekvar from some unappetizing looking unsulphured apricots, but I have to say the finished product was delicious and even turned from the muddy brown to a burnt orange color.
The dough was a bit of a challenge to roll after a few minutes out of the fridge, I think I got a bit of an arm workout that morning, which is never a bad thing. And it definitely took a few tries, and finally some plastic wrap assistance, to roll the whole thing up.
I baked one of the rolls after the shortest amount of time in the fridge, 4hours, and those definitely did not stay together as well as the rest which had at least a 24 hour stay on the bottom shelf in the fridge. And my rolls really didn’t turn out so much like a spiral, but more of a wrap around, it would definitely take some practice to get them tighter, but all in all the final product was a flaky, rich pastry with a nice gooey, yet texturally varied and pleasing filling due to the crunchiness of the nuts. And that first bite into the cinnamon sugared nut crust, mmmm you knew something good was following that!
As for the somewhat ambiguous fillings: those who thought they did not like dates, loved the dried fruit combo of Medjool dates, dried cherries, and currants. And in a combination of toasted almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, and walnuts the nuts whose flavor were able to break through and shine through the rest of the sugar, fruit, and cinnamon were the hazelnuts and walnuts. Go Filbert trees! I do so love hazelnuts:)
I think the sign of success for this recipe I received from a friend who had stopped by during the baking last week. Having four dozen of the rugelach hanging around was not helping out my thrice daily well-balanced meals, I packed her up a few to go, and when I asked later if she liked them she replied with, ‘oh my god, I scarfed them all down at once, so good!’ I think it was a win!
If you’re interested in the recipe check out Jessica of My Baking Heart or Margaret of The Urban Hiker sites – the two great hosts for this recipe! Or better yet, buy the book Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.