Tuesdays with Dorie (Baking Chez Moi): The Rugelach That Won Over France

Dorie might call this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe “The rugelach that won over France” but for a while there, I was thinking I might have to call mine “The rugelach that only a mother can love” 😉

I mean, when this is happening the first time you make the recipe, you know it can’t be a great thing…

Brittle rugelach dough on eatlivetravelwrite.comYikes, right?

You see, I’ve never made rugelach before. It’s a cream cheese and butter pastry (filled with nuts and dried fruit and chocolate with a touch of coconut) that is very soft to work with so the recipe is full of all sorts of advice on chilling the pastry – to the point of letting it sit in the freezer for an hour after you’ve rolled the filling up inside before you cut it. That is what I did (I do tend to follow recipes closely at least the first time I am trying them, especially with baking) and what you see above is what happened. I found the pastry very brittle and the filling very rough (sharp edges breaking through the thinly-rolled pastry). It wasn’t all bad though…

Rugelach rolled and ready for the fridge on eatlivetravelwrite.comBut these were frozen solid when I was trying to cut them and the filling kept on popping out. Resulting in this:

Exploding rugelach on eatlivetravelwrite.comOy! They smelled amazing though, even if they weren’t too pretty to look at…

Rolled rugelach from Baking Chez Moi on eatlivetravelwrite.comThey also tasted pretty amazing…

I wasn’t happy with the result, however, especially since I had heard how easy Dorie’s recipe was – so I asked around the Tuesdays with Dorie group and was directed to the recipe in Baking from My Home to Yours which was essentially the same, although it called for a different shape…

Dorie Greenspan rugelach on eatlivetravelwrite.comThese were a bit easier to work with (I shaped them immediately after I had rolled them out then chilled them before I baked them.  Easier than the log-shape called for in Baking Chez Moi but still not the easiest pastry to work with. The result was ok…

Rugelach from Baking Chez Moi on eatlivetravelwrite.comStill a bit messy but just as tasty…

Rugelach and mulled wine on eatlivetravelwrite.comEspecially with a glass of mulled wine 😉

But I still wasn’t happy – although my colleagues were – they are my faithful taste testers and told me they don’t care about the shape or if they fell apart a bit… On reading Olga’s post last week, I decided that I was overthinking things and that I should simply follow my instincts when it came to chilling, freezing, refrigerating etc…

So I made another 1/2 batch of the pastry, chilled it in the fridge for about 45 minutes then rolled it out quickly…

Rugelach dough on ealivetravelwrite.comI didn’t worry too much about the shape being perfect. I also ditched the chunky filling, favouring a raspberry-chocolate spread from Sandrine Pastry in Kelowna and a handful of chopped walnuts…

Rugelach dough ready to be filled on eatlivetravelwrite.com… which was much easier to work with…

Rugelach with raspberry chocolate spread and walnuts on eatlivetravelwrite.comI quickly rolled the pastry up, not too tight (to give it room to puff slightly)…

Rugelach rolled and ready to chill on eatlivetravelwrite.com… and set it in the fridge for about 30 minutes. It didn’t get too cold, just cool enough to successfully slice once I was ready to bake it…

Rugelach from Dorie Greenspan Baking Chez Moi cut and ready to bake on eatlivetravelwrite.comDorie Greenspan rugelach ready to bake on eatlivetravelwrite.comSO much easier this time. I used a serrated knife and with the smooth filling (and softer than frozen dough) I didn’t have any problems…

Rugelach from Baking Chez Moi ready to be baked on eatlivetravelwrite.com(hint: when slicing the rugelach, wipe the knife clean between slices otherwise you’ll get dirty edges (like on some of those above).

And the result, after all that practice and following my instincts?

Dorie Greenspan Baking Chez Moi rugelach on eatlivetravelwrite.comENFIN!

My tips from working with this recipe:

1. Handle the pastry as little as possible. It’s a soft one and will warm up quickly if over-handled, making it really difficult to work with (rolling etc…)

2. Perhaps pulverize your filling (nuts, chocolate and dried fruit) in a food processor before you fill the pastry – even chocolate chips seemed giant when I was rolling tiny pieces of pastry. Or, just use a jam. Or, you know, Nutella… 😉

3. Definitely chill the dough (in the fridge) before you roll it out. Once you’ve rolled it out, quickly fill and roll it up again but just chill in the fridge, not the freezer. The pastry should be cold to the touch but not frozen and brittle when you are trying to slice it.

4. When slicing, use a serrated knife and use a gentle sawing motion. Wipe the knife clean between slices.

5. When in doubt, practice makes perfect.

These rugelach might have just won me over after all 😉

Get the recipe for Dorie Greenspan’s rugelach (the version that appears in Baking from My Home to Yours) over on Leite’s Culinaria or on p 310 of Baking Chez Moi.

Baking Chez Moi Cover



Tuesdays with Dorie participants don’t publish the recipes on our blogs, so you’re encouraged to purchase Baking Chez Moi for yourself which you can do on Amazon or Amazon Canada or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository. Then join us, baking our way through the book!




Please note: The product links from Amazon, Amazon.ca and The Book Depository are affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!


Lampe Berger on eatlivetravelwrite.com





Canadians – win a Lampe Berger prize pack valued at $200! Closes December 9th 2014 6pm EST. Details here.

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23 Responses to Tuesdays with Dorie (Baking Chez Moi): The Rugelach That Won Over France

  1. Ei December 9, 2014 at 09:54 #

    I’m holding off on making these until next weekend. Some friends invited me to a Hannukah party, so I thought I’d bring these. I’m definitely grateful to you for troubleshooting these THREE times! That takes some persistence!

  2. Patty December 9, 2014 at 12:42 #

    I’m very impressed by your perserverance and enfin! Your results! I tried to carefully follow the directions but I know for one that freezing the cookies before slicing was a disaster…I let the rest remain at room temperature to soften before slicing and baking. I’ve had other problems with rugelach..from the Baking with Julia my homemade apricot lekvar that I spread on the dough before rolling, filling etc. leaked out and burned on the baking sheet..I did have success with a rugelach recipe from Epicuious filled with chocolate chips and cherry jam but those were rolled into the crescent shape, which I think holds the filling better. Oh well, it’s all a learning experience but I don’t think rugelach is easy to make at home 😉

  3. Tammy December 9, 2014 at 13:03 #

    Mardi … you patient lady, you! I didn’t have as much trouble as you, but I do agree that the filling pieces should be very small. I used chocolate chips as well and a few pulses in the food processor would’ve served me well. None the less, they are a lovely little cookie. Your smooth filling might have to be experimented with at my house!

  4. Kristin December 9, 2014 at 13:09 #

    Your first batch made me smile: “Massacre of the rugelach!” If only the cherries weren’t bright red! Your instincts were right, with wonderful results! I think I’ll try the raspberry jam/walnut combo next time 🙂

  5. Margrét Jóhanna December 9, 2014 at 13:10 #

    I chilled the filling when I made the rolls for the second time and it did not fall out as much as it did the first time. I love that you post also your not so perfect ones. I like your Nutella idea.

  6. Margaret December 9, 2014 at 13:23 #

    Practice makes perfect! I did both of the things you recommended – chopped the filling in the food processor and refrigerated before slicing – and they came out great.

  7. Kayte December 9, 2014 at 13:29 #

    Oh, my goodness you did this recipe proud! I need to remember to make them early enough so that I can maybe make them again and again…practice does make perfect. My batches turned out like your first photo of the silpat bodies laying around in various stages of relaxation, lol. I kept wondering if I was going to have enough upright ones to give a good enough showing…the taste was the same either way. Delicious. Nice to see all your efforts and the progression, thanks for sharing.

  8. Diane Zwang December 9, 2014 at 13:30 #

    Third times the charm. I learned from your mistakes and took your advice to heart. I made the recipe using the instructions from Baking From My Home to Yours and it turned out just fine.

  9. Cakelaw December 9, 2014 at 16:06 #

    LOL – yep, the chunky filling made these challenging. I only made one batch, and yep, they were ones that only a mother could love.

  10. Zosia December 9, 2014 at 16:26 #

    You have incredible perseverance to have tried this recipe 3 times! That chocolate-raspberry filling sounds divine!

  11. Ann Mah December 9, 2014 at 17:22 #

    Ah, Mardi, I love that you are a perfectionist! I’ve also been known to make recipes a few times if I can’t get them quite right — they just stick in my craw and I get obsessed. Your rugelach look delicious, every single batch, but I bet the last one was satisfying! xo

  12. Geoff December 9, 2014 at 19:11 #

    As a person who is totally incompetent in the kitchen (I can cook spaghetti) I have to say your initial outcome did resemble the aftermath of the Battle of the Somme.
    But, your descriptors were great and I could taste it all from here. Persistence clearly paid.

  13. Nana December 9, 2014 at 20:39 #

    Mardi, after all that work they really turned out beautiful. I used a processor for the
    filling too and it was definitely easier to work with that way. Deliciously good

  14. Amy December 9, 2014 at 21:39 #

    I’m impressed with how many times you tried this. Your first batch makes me smile and feel good about realizing I’m not the only one that makes messes. I bet they were delicious though. Looks are always deceiving.

  15. Beth (OMG! Yummy) December 9, 2014 at 21:41 #

    Rugelach dough is not easy to work with until you get used to it – I used to only let @dormantchef deal with it – I’d prep it, make the filling, and make him roll it out. Now that I’ve conquered my dough-a-phobia, I can do it myself. But I only take out the one piece I’m working with, use lots of flour, and work quickly. Chunkier fillings do make for more unrolling. Your instincts are good. We make the circle, cut it into 12 wedges, and roll each wedge tightly but not too tightly 🙂 Glad you stuck with it – rugelach is a huge hit with our friends and family. I’ll be making 96 more next week… Wish I was closer – I’d have come over to help for sure!!!

  16. Rachelle December 9, 2014 at 22:28 #

    Hi Mardi, thank you for writing, and photo chronicling your experience with rugelach. Your persistence is commendable! I took notes and like your recommendations especially the part about pulverizing your filling. I’ll try that next go. Having not visited your blog before, I’m glad I found it. However, wish we lived closer, my girls would love to take a French pastry class!
    all the best!

  17. Kathy December 10, 2014 at 19:07 #

    Mardi, So sorry you had so many problems with these…however your final product is beautiful! After reading the p&qs I decided not to freeze. Glad you persevered!

  18. Kim December 10, 2014 at 19:34 #

    Wow…what patience and perseverance you had! Good job!

  19. Adriana December 11, 2014 at 09:00 #

    The P&Q saves the day again! The “middle pastry” in your third attempt looks perfectly puffed. Trusting your instincts is the way to go.

    I am enjoying our virtual baking lab way more than I anticipated. 🙂

  20. Margaret December 11, 2014 at 18:05 #

    “The Rugelach that only a mother could love” — totally cracked me up! And I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one with filling that spilled everywhere. Also, great idea to simply switch the filling, because the dough is great!

  21. Gracie ~ Food Fascination December 12, 2014 at 00:10 #

    Wow, you have been busy! Nice job making all the versions of the Rugelach.


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