All the delights of cream cheese were waiting for me when I hit the East coast at the age of 17: cheesecake, bagels with cream cheese and lox, and of course, rugelach –the subject of this week’s Tuesday’s With Dorie challenge (I know, I’m running a day late.) My freshman 15 was made of cream cheese.
I think of rugelach as a pastry, rather than a cookie – a rich, not-so-sweet- cream cheese pastry that almost melts in your mouth wrapped around a sweet jam filling. When I worked at Rosie’s we sold them by the pound – and I ate them by the pound too.
But up until this week, I’d never made my own.
As near as I can tell, rugelach are one of the extra recipes in baking with Julia – not made on the show, but contributed by one of the guest bakers, in this case, Lauren Groveman, who now hosts her own baking show. Groveman contributed 13 recipes to Baking with Julia – including two I can’t wait to make, bagels and pumpernickel bread.
Joining the Tuesday’s with Dorie group has really revitalized my interest in baking. I’m feeding my sourdough starter again and planning another attempt at whole grain croissants. Luckily, K.M. and I are also training for The Big Climb, though of course, I wish we weren’t.
Early in January, we learned that someone close to us has leukemia. Close to us in spirit, but living 3000 miles away. I’ve learned a lot about the disease since then, including how truly vital research money can be.
We’re pretty powerless to help from here. We can’t take him out to dinner, offer child care, or bring over dinner on a night when his family is too tired to cook, or even share a batch of pastry.
But at least we can climb and raise money, so if you’d consider donating to our effort it would mean lot to me, and more importantly to thousands of others – the people who grapple with this disease and other blood cancers every day. And if you contribute, leave me a comment, and I’ll gladly send you a box of mini-rugelach – or schnecken, as the case may be.
Unlike in Dorie Greenspan’s personal rugelach recipe, which you can hear her discussing on NPR, the recipe in Baking with Julia calls for rolling the dough, like a sweet roll, and slicing off rounds, rather forming it around the filing, in a crescent shape. A little research reveals that the shape may be crucial. Rather than making rugelah, the 300 plus baker’s following along with this challenge actually made something closer to schnecken.
Call it anything you want – these pastries are well worth your time and trouble.
My schnecken are bite-sized. I knew I’d want another and another every time I ate one, so it seemed safer. The dough does not spread when you bake it, so you can put as many slices as will fit on a cookie sheet at a time, without worry.
And I also already knew that while I like my cookies underdone, I like pastry on the well done side – for the crunch factor; a darker croissant always tastes better than one that’s just light brown. Filled with toasted nuts, currents and homemade spreads – I used lemon curd in half the batch, and my last jar of David Lebovitz’s homemade nutella (I leave out the powdered milk),in the other – these pastries are a delight.