I'm continuing my personal challenge of baking my way through Greg Patent's "A Baker's Odyssey". This is my sixth recipe and at this rate it will take way over a year, maybe more than two years, to get through the more than 130 recipes. I think I'm going to have to pick up the pace a bit!
This week I baked a batch of Rugelach which, from what I understand, are quite popular in other parts of the world but here in tropical Northern Australia, rugelach are unheard of. Like the Date Babas, this recipe is from the Sweet Pastries chapter which promises that after baking through the collection of recipes in this chapter "you'll be equipped to handle just about any pastry recipe that comes your way".
Rugelach dough comprises of three ingredients - flour, butter and cream cheese! Needless to say these are not for the diet conscious! Filled with finely chopped walnuts, sugar and cinnamon these pastries are delicious, rich and flaky.
Remember Aussies, this is an American recipe using the American size tablespoon.
Makes 36 pastries
8 ounces (250g) regular cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 pound (250g) butter, at room temperature
1 2/3 cup all purpose flour, plus more as needed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 1/3 cup finely chopped walnuts
4 tablespoons (62g) butter, melted
1 large egg yolk, beaten with a teaspoon milk for egg wash
Beat the cream cheese and butter together with electric mixer until smooth and fluffy. On low speed, gradually add about half the flour, beating only until incorporated. Mix in the remaining flour with a wooden spoon.
Lightly flour your work surface and scrape the dough onto it. Turn the dough to coast with the flour and shape into a 1 inch thick disk. Divide the dough into thirds, shape each into a ball, wrap each in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 350F/180C and line two large baking sheets with non stick baking paper.
Make the filling by combining the sugar, sinnamon and walnuts in a bowl.
Roll out one portion of dough on a lightly floured surface to a 12inch circle. Brush the dough with about one third of the butter and quickly sprinkle with one third of the sugar and walnut mixture. Place a square of waxed paper over the filling and press down gently with the rolling pin to embed the filling into the dough. Use a long sharp knife to cut the dough into 12 wedges.
Roll up each wedge from the wide edge, set the rolls pint side down on one thof the baking sheets spacing them about 1 inch apart.
Don't worry if a bit of the filling falls out just add it back into the bowl and keep going.
Brush the rugelach lightly on the top with egg wash and bake for about 30 minutes until the pastries are a rich golden brown. Roate the baking sheets front to back, top to bottom to ensure even browning.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Greg tell us that a variation to the classic rugelach is to mix 1/2 cup currents or mini chocolate chips into the filling. While I made the classic recipe, I think the variations sound good and they will certainly be coming out of my kitchen in the near future.
So, did I like them?
I did find them very rich and could only eat one with a cup of tea. Interestingly, I did find that the flavour improved the day after baking. The pastry as you can see is delightfully flaky and the filling had just the right amount of cinnamon.
Another winner from "A Baker's Odyssey", my favourite cookbook!